Sheffield United's Wilder plays down European ambitions

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers

(Reuters) - Sheffield United are not thinking about European qualification and their focus is on finishing the Premier League season on a high, manager Chris Wilder said on Thursday.

Having returned to the top flight for the first time since 2007, the Blades have punched above their weight to move up to seventh in the league, occupying the final Europa League spot with four games left.

"It's not felt like pushing for Europe all the way through, it's been media talk," Wilder told a news conference. "I can’t control that.

"I can only control our performances. I am looking for a big finish and we demand a big finish no matter what advantages other clubs have over us."

United, unbeaten in five home league games following Wednesday's last-gasp 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, host in-form Chelsea at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Chelsea have won four out of five league games since the restart last month, leapfrogging Leicester City to move into third place.

"They have got threats everywhere," Wilder said. "You look at Manchester City and Liverpool from an attacking point of view and Chelsea are right up there. They are one of the most free-flowing teams in the division.

"They have technical players, legs, pace, ability movement... we have to make sure that our shape is at it and produce one of our best performances of the season."

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak, editing by Ed Osmond)