Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has denied disrespecting the FA Cup after changing his entire team for Sunday's third-round clash against AFC Fylde.
Wilder's starting 11 in the Blades' 2-1 home win over the non-league Coasters was completely different to the one which had faced Liverpool in the Premier League three days earlier.
The Blades boss argued he had no choice but to rotate his squad after two testing league games in five days, away to Manchester City and then the league leaders, had left his players both mentally and physically fatigued.
“When I saw the draw a few weeks ago I was going to play a strong side, but just looking at how the boys were, and the intensity of the fixtures coming up, I decided not to,” said Wilder, whose side are back in action against West Ham on Friday.
“I have full respect for the Championship, that is intense. But at this level, we go to Manchester City and then Liverpool away from home. That is really intense.
“You never used to see many changes in the third round but the introduction, rise and growth of the Premier League means that’s by far the biggest competition in this country.
“I hope people will understand why we made 11 changes, and I have given the other lads a couple of days off, to go away and clear their heads.”