Xenia Sports – London
Chris Wilder vowed to always look after Sheffield United after he was accused of being selfish by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
An animated Klopp took aim at the Blades boss and mocked his side’s position at the foot of the Premier League table as he again argued for teams to be allowed to make five substitutions this season.
Klopp said pointedly that Wilder’s side “have three subs and one point” in a heated touchline interview following Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Brighton in Saturday’s early kick-off.
The Blades had been one of the clubs to object to five substitutes, a rule which has been reintroduced in the EFL, with Wilder quoted recently as describing Klopp as a “world-class politician, who cares about Liverpool – that’s all he cares about”.
Asked about Klopp’s comments, Wilder returned fire in his post-match interview with Sky Sports following the Blades’ 1-0 defeat at West Brom in Saturday’s evening match.
“I’m not going to talk about it right at this particular moment. I can imagine you can understand my view on that so maybe that’s for another time,” said Wilder.
“Today is talking about today’s result and as Jurgen said – a good observation – we’re still on that one point, as he pointed out.
“Everybody has that right to do that (defend their own club’s view). There is 20 votes in this league and everybody looks after himself right the way through.
“Nobody is looking after Sheffield United the right way now, so we have to look after ourselves. I am not really going into the nuts and bolts of what was said (at the Premier League meeting).
“I have got a huge amount of respect for Liverpool Football Club, as I always have done, and have a huge amount of respect for Jurgen.
“Whether it is looking after the football club, whether it is selfish or another word… and by the way, there are a few more managers in there as well that have looked after their own club, and I will always look after Sheffield United.”
Wilder found an allay in Baggies boss Slaven Bilic, who said: “We are all selfish, but not in a negative way. You have a responsibility to do the job and the responsibility is to find what you can do for your club better.
“Klopp is also selfish from that point of view, wanting the best for his club, but he is not the only one. I understand Chris Wilder, the difference between three subs and five subs is a big advantage when we play those big clubs.”
On the pitch, Conor Gallagher’s first-half strike at the Hawthorns saw West Brom gain their first Premier League win of the season and left the Blades rooted to the bottom of the table still searching for theirs.
Both Bilic and Wilder would have circled this fixture as an opportunity to finally kick-start their campaigns, and it was Baggies boss Bilic who was celebrating after Gallagher’s 13th-minute goal was enough for a 1-0 victory.
In truth, though, the Blades created enough clear-cut chances to win the game comfortably and Wilder was left wondering how his team
finished empty-handed once more.
“I thought we were good enough to win a game of football between two teams who are in a bit of a struggle. It is a game we should have won with the amount of chances we had,” said Wilder.
“We should have been up in the game when they scored and it’s incredible we haven’t scored one of them to get us something from the game.”
Bilic hailed a “massive” victory for his team after their first Premier League win lifted the club out of the bottom three.
“It’s a huge three points, it was crucial for both teams to win,” said Bilic. “Of course, I am delighted with the points and really pleased with the win.
“Although it is not late in the season, this game was like a six-pointer, because it is more than a normal win – it is against one of the teams around us.
“There is always a cloud there with the question mark when are we going to get a win, so the three points was massive for us. We finally get it and this we have to use going forward in the upcoming games.”