25.02.2024 20:22 h

Sheffield United players square off in defeat

Sheffield United players came to blows among themselves during a 1-0 defeat at Wolves on Sunday that pushed the Blades ever closer to relegation from the Premier League.

Pablo Sarabia's header earned Gary O'Neil's men the three points which lifts Wolves up to eighth in the table.

In the aftermath of the goal, a heated argument between Sheffield United pair Vinícius Souza and Jack Robinson descended into pushing.

A VAR check was required before both were allowed to continue in scenes reminiscent of a fight between Newcastle players Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer that saw both sent-off in 2005.

But United manager Chris Wilder dismissed the significance of the incident on his side's team spirit.

"That happens at every club up and down the country, three or four times a year," said Wilder.

"That happens behind closed doors at every level, at Man City and the bottom of League Two.

"You don't want to see it but it does. VAR spotted it and for me, you just move on pretty quickly.

"They were told about their responsibilities at half-time. We talked to the boys and they are fine and cool."

The visitors showed the right kind of fight in the second half to push Wolves into a nervy finish.

Wilder's men were inches away from an equaliser late on when Auston Trusty failed to touch in James McAtee's dangerous ball across the goal.

But a 19th defeat in 26 league games leaves Sheffield United still rooted to the foot of the table, eight points adrift of safety, and staring an immediate return to the Championship in the face.

A season of struggle was also predicted for Wolves after losing manager Julen Lopetegui just days before the campaign began.

But O'Neil is among the contenders for manager of the year in England as he has instead masterminded a challenge for European competition next season.

Wolves move ahead of Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham and within one point of seventh-placed Brighton.

But O'Neil said his side must improve if they are to harbour European ambitions.

"That second-half performance gets us nowhere near Europe," said the former Bournemouth boss.

"The lads have done incredibly well and maybe I'm being slightly hard on today, you have no divine right to win, but the second-half performance looks a long way from a team pushing to Europe."