Blades boss Wilder unconcerned by top-four talk

(Reuters) - Sheffield United will not be distracted by talk of securing a top-four finish, with their attention focused solely on Thursday’s Premier League clash against Leicester City, manager Chris Wilder said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Sheffield United v Chelsea - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - July 11, 2020 Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell

Sheffield are seventh in the standings with 54 points, five behind Leicester, who occupy the final Champions League spot with three games to play.

The Blades have picked up 10 points from their last four games with victories against Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur, and a draw at Burnley.

“We are not looking at anything but the next game which is one we go into in good spirits and good nick,” Wilder told reporters in a virtual news conference.

“We’re positive and why shouldn’t we be. We’ve got to make sure performances are right up there with the ones that got us results against Chelsea, Wolves and Spurs.”

Sheffield striker David McGoldrick and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha have recently been the targets of racist abuse and Wilder has called on authorities to take stricter action to try and eradicate the problem.

“It’s ridiculous that these things are still happening. I’m not the biggest fan of social media. More has to be done by the people in power,” the United boss said.

“We have to work in conjunction with the authorities to punish people who feel they have the right to go online and abuse people. We’ve all been victims of it but that doesn’t make it right.

“Why should anyone be abused? Zaha and McGoldrick were very brave in what they’ve done and should have everyone’s support.”

Wilder confirmed midfielder John Fleck, who has missed the Blades’ last four games through injury, is in line to return.

(This story amends talks to talk in headline and lead.)

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge