Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists he has nothing but admiration for ‘incredibly talented’ Jurgen Klopp following the public row between the two managers earlier this season.
Wilder said the Liverpool boss was selfish when he advocated a return of the five-substitute rule, believing it would give those with much larger squads and resources an advantage, and later described the German as a “world class politician”.
Klopp then responded with several jibes to Wilder in his media interviews, noting in particular that the Blades only had one point on the set at the time.
The couple will meet for the first time since this war of words in November when Liverpool travel to Bramall Lane on Sunday night.
Ahead of the Premier League clash, Wilder insisted: “The relationship is absolutely perfect.
“I have nothing but admiration for Jurgen, he’s a top manager. That’s what happens, people talk and things say to each other. If I was precious about things that are say, I wouldn’t do this job.
“If I took note of people in the media and what the majority said during my time as manager, I don’t think I would be sitting here and I think the same is true for the Liverpool manager .
“He’s an incredibly talented manager, he’s a winner and we all try to win. He did it in an incredible way. Heat of the moment, or whatever.
“I didn’t take this personal, and I’ve moved on and worried about stuff like that, it’s fine in the pecking order.”
The Blades, at the bottom of the table with just three league wins this season, are heading into the weekend game round at 14 points through safety, with just 13 games left to close the gap.
Wilder: One of the toughest times I’ve been through
It’s been a wrestling season for Wilder’s side, who finished ninth last on their return to the Premier League, and he admits there have been times he has felt more like an adviser than a football coach.
“These players swam the channel to get the position they occupy,” said Wilder, who has shared the Ligue 1 title win and championship promotion with many of his current squad over the past five. years.
“I’m not going to run them over the head. I’m backing them. Sometimes what they’ve done in such a short time is a little overlooked. We want more.
“Am I as much of an advisor as a manager? Yes, that seems to be the case, because we try to keep morale high and positive.
“It’s one of the most difficult times I’ve been through in my managerial career, because of my connection to this club. We just want to go through it.”