​Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder was full of praise for opening day hero Billy Sharp, after the striker's equaliser sealed a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Blades marked their return to the top flight after a 12-year absence with a hard-fought point, but had to work for it after going behind to Chris Mepham’s close-range finish. However, the visitors earned a late equaliser, as substitute Sharp bundled home in the 88th minute to earn a point.

Chris Wilder

After the game, Wilder was full of praise for his side’s efforts. Speaking in his post-match press conference (as quoted by FourFourTwo), he said: “I was disappointed to go behind but yet again not surprised by the way my team came roaring back. I think it was the right result.”

​Sheffield United were arguably the better side throughout the afternoon, controlling possession and moving the ball well. They could’ve found the net earlier, were it not for wasted chances and some excellent saves from ​Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

After a long absence from the ​Premier League, the Blades were vying to begin life back in the top flight in style. While they didn’t secure all three points, a point away from home on the south coast is an excellent way to start the season.


Wilder continued by saying: “It was important that today wasn’t a sightseeing trip for us, it wasn’t a day out. We were bold in terms of trying to get back in the game. There is always going to be apprehension in our play, none of these boys have played at this level.

“I’m delighted for [the players] and everybody connected to the football club, it’s been a long time that they’ve been out of the division.”

Wilder was full of praise for Billy Sharp, who scored Sheffield United’s equaliser. The boyhood Blades fan scored six minutes after coming off the bench, as he netted his first ever Premier League goal of his 15-year career.

Speaking about Sharp, Wilder said: “He was always going to come on when you’re chasing the game. We felt that it was coming and we were nice and bright on a free-kick. You’re thinking, ‘Who do you want floating about in that area?’ it’s Mr Sheffield United and I’m delighted for him.”

Sheffield United have back to back home games up next, starting with the visit of Crystal Palace next Sunday before they host ​Leicester on 24 August.