Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has spoken glowingly about Dean Smith’s Aston Villa ahead of tomorrow’s meeting at Bramall Lane.
The 53-year-old remained upbeat as ever despite his side on a run of four-straight defeats while still sitting 15 points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League.
Wilder’s Blades have lost 21 of their 26 matches this season yet, ahead of his side’s fixture with Villa, Wilder reserved praise for the club while sending Jack Grealish a funny message.
On Villa, Wilder said: “They’ve spent £300 million over the last four or five seasons, they’re a brilliant club with fabulous supporters. I went to watch them in the play-off against Derby, was late and got caught up entering with Villa fans.
“I think they’re huge and I think only people in football realise how big they are.
“But I’m delighted for Dean and Jack (Grealish); for them to be in the Premier League with their home town club, it’s a connection like between me and Billy Sharp. They have given it a right go and, if someone’s watch was turned on, something else might have happened. But, they have built from that and are having a fabulous season.
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“I also hope Jack Grealish doesn’t play (tomorrow). Have another day off Jack, and return at the weekend because I think he is the best player in England.”
Wilder added: “(Villa) signed good players last year and had great players in the Championship under Steve Bruce and got to a play-off final then got promoted through Dean and had a brilliant run at the end, I had a soft spot for them.”
Elsewhere, the Blades boss spoke out about his future amid increasing pressure between him and Sheffield United’s board.
He was asked if his future is at United after this season, and said: “I don’t know. It’s head down on to the Villa game, what will be will be. If we stick to the plan, I want to stay.”
Asked to elaborate on that plan, he added: “The plan was always to leave a legacy, to change things off the pitch which need changing and stick with the players we have invested in and then add a couple and trying to bounce back – simple as that.”