EPL

Chris Wilder says Mason Holgate has apologised to team-mates for red card

By Sports Desk February 18, 2024

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder revealed Mason Holgate apologised to his team-mates after his red card in the 5-0 home defeat to Brighton.

Holgate was sent off in the 13th minute for a reckless thigh-high challenge on Kaoru Mitoma, with the VAR advising referee Stuart Attwell to upgrade an initial yellow card to red.

The Blades were put to the sword in the remaining 77 minutes as goals from Facundo Buonanotte and Danny Welbeck, Simon Adingra’s double and a Jack Robinson own goal gave the Seagulls their second victory at Bramall Lane in three weeks after a 5-2 fourth-round FA Cup romp last month.

Things might have been different had Holgate, who looks set to be fined by the club, kept his cool and Wilder says the defender knows he “got it wrong”.

“He has apologised to the boys, he understands it and he is an experienced pro,” Wilder, whose side conceded five goals at home for the third successive game, said.

“He has got it wrong, I want us to be competitive, I want us to win tackles, we can’t have a passive game.

“It is a competitive game, it is a not a non-contact game but we have to get that right, Mason has to get that right. It is huge setback for us in the approach to the overall game.

“I am torn, I am a competitor and I understand that it was a very, very strong challenge and the game has moved on.

“Some people won’t want the game to move and on and expect physical contact, excessive force or whatever you call it.

“Winning the ball and challenging in that way is deemed not acceptable. We have got no excuses, or nowhere to hide, the referee gave it a yellow card straight away but obviously when he went to the monitor and saw it slowed down and has somebody in his ear saying it’s a red card.

“Better managers than me, quite a lot of them around at the moment I should imagine – bigger, better clubs than Sheffield United would have found it difficult to go down to 10 because of they way they play.

“The game was decided on that, I could say 100 per cent we would not have gone done 5-0.”

The Seagulls made hay at Bramall Lane for the second time in three weeks and took advantage of Holgate’s indiscipline.

They kept the pressure on Manchester United in sixth place but boss Roberto De Zerbi would have preferred to have played 11 versus 11.

“We played very well, especially in the first half, it was very difficult to find the right moment to shoot, to score,” the Italian said.

“The first half was a very good performance, I am sorry for the red card, sincerely, because I would like to play the game 11 v 11 and it is not always an advantage to play with one player more.

“Especially if the characteristic of the opponent is like Sheffield United because you can find it more difficult to score.

“The second part of the first half they defended the last 25 metres with nine players behind the ball.”

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