BBC pundit Alan Shearer says Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder would have been awarded the manager of the year in any other season, but the outstanding performances of Liverpool mean Jurgen Klopp is a shoo-in for the accolade.
The Blades’ 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the weekend means they are now just two points off Chelsea who occupy the fourth and final Champions League place. Before the start of the campaign, many had tipped Wilder’s side for relegation and Shearer thinks the manager deserves all the credit:
“If it wasn’t for what Jurgen Klopp is doing at Liverpool, Wilder would be manager of the year by a mile. Go back to the end of August and September, and plenty were saying, ‘Give it a few weeks and their bubble will burst’.”
“Most thought they’d get found out. Many thought they’d be in the bottom half by the New Year. Barely any gave them a chance of Europe – and none predicted a push for the Champions League places.”
Klopp could yet lose his unbeaten record this season, with Liverpool limping over the line for the Premier League trophy, so there is still a chance that Wilder could win the award, although it is still only likely to be a slim chance.
That shouldn’t take anything away from what Sheffield United have achieved under their manager’s guidance this season, though. As well as sitting fifth in the table, they have the second-best defensive record in the league and have lost just twice away from home.