Noel Whelan has insisted Chris Wilder had every right to slam his Leeds United critics as “muppets” after Sheffield United secured promotion to the Premier League.
The 51-year-old, who was speaking to the Blades’ official YouTube channel on Sunday, insisted his side had “steamrolled” the Championship and fully deserved their spot in the top flight after several United players were quoted saying the pressure may get to his side.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, former Leeds striker and lifelong fan Whelan explained why he had no problem with Wilder’s colourful reaction to securing the holy grail.
“I don’t blame him for the ‘muppets’ claim, not at all,” Whelan said. “What’s wrong with it? He can say what he wants, he’s just won promotion and he thoroughly deserves it.
“I take nothing away from Sheffield United, along with Norwich they had been the best side in the Championship and Wilder is a fantastic manager who’s very underrated.
“He’s been successful in five different leagues and deserves a lot of credit. He’s assembled a side that is not just competitive, but plays good football, is forward-thinking and attacking.
“He must be a great manager to play for. He’s Sheffield United through and through and has built a team of men, who can accept a bit of a rollocking and that’s quite rare these days.”
Whelan was speaking following the dramatic events of Sunday, when Leeds United were held to a 1-1 home draw by high-flying Aston Villa after they were reduced to 10 men in extraordinary circumstance.
The Blades will join Norwich as two of the three promoted clubs from this season’s Championship.
“We’ve had one defeat in 13 and I’ve got muppets from Leeds talking about the pressure being on us,” Wilder said. “Bamford and (Adam) Forshaw and a couple of others. It’s over to you and this, that and the other.
“They got beat seven times since Christmas. We’ve been beaten once. We’ve set it up from Christmas to be in the race and we’ve steamrolled it.”
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