Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder dismissed the clash between Blades team-mates Jack Robinson and Vini Souza in the defeat at Wolves.

The pair squared up, went head-to-head and engaged in a shoving match during Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League loss at Molineux.

Pablo Sarabia’s winner condemned the visitors to a 19th defeat in 26 games and left them eight points from safety at the bottom of the table.

But, despite their plight and players’ frustrations boiling over, Wilder insisted there were no issues.

“That happens at every club up and down the country, three or four times a year,” he said. “Of course you can’t condone it, it has to stay at a level, we have a responsibility to the young kids out there playing.

“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.

“We’re a team who is learning in the Premier League, learning on the job and our opponents have been building for quite a while.

“We were competitive. We haven’t got the result but my frustration and criticism of the team are about the big moments. We had enough territory and we have to find that quality they found.

“I believe we played well enough. If you play well you have to come away with something and that’s my frustration and criticism.”

Rhian Brewster and James McAtee tested Jose Sa but the Blades’ threat faded quickly and Sarabia won it after 30 minutes.

He met Rayan Ait-Nouri’s cross with a glancing header – having escaped Yasser Larouci – which found the top corner.

Pedro Neto fired over as Wolves looked for a second, which sparked the confrontation between Robinson and Souza, with VAR opting not to send either off for violent conduct.

The ill-disciplined Blades never recovered and, while there was plenty of second-half effort, they lacked the quality to punish Wolves.

Brewster’s half-chance at the far post, with his sliding effort forcing Sa into action, was the best they created.

Sarabia shot wide for Wolves, who rose to eighth to maintain their hopes of returning to Europe next season.

Boss Gary O’Neil said: “We struggled to find the correct solutions in the second half and a lot of that is on me. That second-half performance gets us nowhere near Europe.

“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.

“I’m really pleased with the win. Up to eighth but it’s probably the worst I’m going to feel for the next hour, being eighth, because I was really disappointed with the second half.

“We had to show grit, determination and dig in. I thought the lads were excellent in sticking together.”

Sheffield United players fought amongst themselves as they slumped to another damaging Premier League defeat in a 1-0 reverse at Wolves.

Team-mates Jack Robinson and Vini Souza clashed in the first half with the ill-disciplined Blades left rooted to the bottom of the table following the narrow loss.

The pair squared up with the visitors already behind to Pablo Sarabia’s first-half header and they will need to channel any further fighting spirit into a survival bid which looks increasingly doomed.

Chris Wilder’s side are eight points from safety and another poor performance offered no hope for their chances.

In contrast, the victory was Wolves’ first top-flight win at Molineux this year and lifted the hosts to eighth as they maintain a surprise European challenge.

They are a point behind Brighton in seventh as Gary O’Neil’s men continue to impress and dismiss the predictions of a season of struggle.

Wolves, though, were not at their best at Molineux but did not have to be to beat the Blades.

It took until the 18th minute for some serious action when Rhian Brewster was left unmarked to test Jose Sa, after Craig Dawson blocked his initial effort.

The former Liverpool youngster then had a second opening five minutes later, only to shank his shot wide under pressure from Toti Gomes.

Despite bossing possession, Wolves struggled to open the visitors up and it was O’Neil’s men who conceded the chances.

James McAtee became the latest wasteful Blade when he fired straight at Sa, having escaped from Dawson on the left and United’s misses proved costly after 30 minutes.

Yet again the visitors’ soft underbelly became their greatest issue as they conceded goal number 66 of the season.

Yasser Larouci was caught napping, allowing Sarabia to arrive unchecked to meet Rayan Ait-Nouri’s inviting cross and glance a looping header into the top corner.

With it, Sheffield United cracked with Robinson and Souza pushing and trading blows after Pedro Neto shot over.

In December Wilder had called for his players to “swing some punches” in the battle against relegation – though he would not have expected them to take his words so literally.

VAR gave the pair a pass but the Blades had lost their discipline and needed half-time to regroup.

They did manage to put Wolves under mild pressure and McAtee dragged a shot wide but there was never a sense Wilder’s side would equalise.

Brewster tested Sa as United’s momentum faded and Sarabia went close to a second when he curled wide just after the hour.

A pedestrian half rarely found its groove, though, and the visitors never had Wolves on the ropes as they suffered another knockout blow in the Premier League.

Sheffield United have condemned the racist abuse received by Mason Holgate in the wake of Sunday’s game against 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.

Brighton went on to win 5-0 at Bramall Lane and Holgate subsequently received racist abuse on social media which he has shared on his Instagram account.

“I can only apologise for letting my team-mates, club + fans down on the weekend & have done so this week personally,” Holgate wrote.

“However, the last 48 hours have been difficult to take… the constant racist abuse across my social media… here are some of the messages!

“As a sport + society we need to do more and there needs to be consequences for Racism!”

Holgate’s club said in a statement: “Sheffield United condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the racist abuse received by Mason Holgate following Sunday’s Premier League fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion.

“We will support Mason and applaud him bringing this to light on social media. The club will work with relevant bodies to investigate. There is no room for racism in our game.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has been fined £11,500 by the Football Association for his biting remarks about a sandwich-eating assistant referee.

Wilder was offended when he spotted one of referee Tony Harrington’s assistants chowing down when the Blades manager went to see him after their 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace last month.

Wilder, who has accepted the charge, branded the sight as a “complete lack of respect” and also called Harrington’s performance “ridiculous” in an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield after the game.

An FA statement read: “Chris Wilder has been fined £11,500 for media comments that came after Sheffield United’s game against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Tuesday 30 January.

“It was alleged that the manager’s comments constitute improper conduct in that they imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the referee, or referees generally, and/or bring the game into disrepute.

“Chris Wilder accepted this charge, and an independent Regulatory Commission imposed his fine following a hearing.”

Wilder’s fine follows a charge issued to him on Valentine’s Day over the rant, in which he said: “It’s yet again another ridiculous performance from the referee.

“Every 50/50 or tight decision goes against us and if that’s what we’re going to have to deal with between now and the end of the season, we’re going to deal with it.

“But I’m not just going to go under the radar and not say anything. I’ve been to see the referee and I’ve told him that.

“One of his assistants was eating a sandwich at the time, which I thought was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager.”

Sheffield United’s fifth defeat of the season by five goals or more leaves Chris Wilder’s side facing the prospect of setting several unwanted Premier League records.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how their defensive record compares to the worst in the top flight’s modern era.

Blades cut down

United have lost 18 of their 25 league games this season, with only three wins, to prop up the table on 13 points – but even those figures do not fully illustrate their struggles.

They were beaten 8-0 by Newcastle at Bramall Lane in September and have lost their last two home games 5-0 to Aston Villa and Brighton, with further defeats by that scoreline at Arsenal in October and relegation-rivals Burnley in December – after which they sacked manager Paul Heckingbottom and reappointed Wilder.

Only two teams in Premier League history have previously conceded five goals or more on five occasions in the same season, though both went on to add a sixth.

Swindon’s 1993-94 relegation season included them losing 5-0 at home to Liverpool and Leeds as well as away to Villa, 5-1 at Southampton, 6-2 at Everton and 7-1 at Newcastle. Among Derby’s 29 defeats – in their 11-point season in 2007-08 – they lost 6-0 at Liverpool and at home to Villa, 5-0 at Arsenal and at home to West Ham, 6-1 at Chelsea and 6-2 to Arsenal.

The Blades had Mason Holgate sent off against Brighton when the game was still goalless to add to his nightmare season.

The defender is on loan from Everton, having spent the first half of the campaign at Championship side Southampton. In both loan spells, Holgate made his debut in a 5-0 defeat for his side – for Saints at Sunderland and the Blades against Villa.

Record pace

United have conceded the most goals ever through 25 games of a Premier League season, 65, and will need to improve to avoid breaking records for defensive futility set by the aforementioned Swindon and Derby teams.

The most goals conceded in a Premier League season is 100, by Swindon in their 42 games that season. Derby set the worst of the 38-game era, 89, as they also recorded the worst points total (11) and goal difference (-69) in any Premier League campaign.

The Blades have conceded an average of 2.60 goals per game, worse than Derby’s 2.34 and Swindon’s 2.38. Indeed, they are on course to concede 99 goals this season (98.80 at their average of 2.60) so are even at risk of breaking Swindon’s 42-game record.

An average goal difference of -1.72 per game over a 38-game season equates to -65.36, within four of Derby’s record.

They have at least already passed the Rams’ 11-point tally but they – and Burnley, also on 13 – could join only six previous teams who finished with under 20 points.

Their current 0.52 average per game equates to 19.76 over a full season, so any further drop-off would see them in the unwanted company of the Sunderland sides who managed just 19 points in 2002-03 and 15 in 2005-06, Portsmouth’s 19 in 2009-10, Villa (17 in 2015-16), Huddersfield (16 in 2018-19) and that history-making Derby team.

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.”

Brighton strengthened their top-six Premier League hopes as they inflicted a second successive 5-0 home defeat on 10-man Sheffield United.

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.

Their task was made easier by Mason Holgate’s 13th-minute red card for the Blades, who also lost 5-0 to Aston Villa a fortnight ago and have now conceded five goals in three successive home games including that cup loss to the Seagulls.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side kept the pressure on sixth-placed Manchester United by putting the 10 men to the sword and they look in good shape as their European campaign soon resumes.

After winning at Luton last weekend, United briefly raised hopes of launching a great escape but they are dented and, sitting seven points adrift of safety, a return to the Championship looks almost certain.

They battled hard for much of the game but three goals in the last 15 minutes put a damaging slant on the scoreline.

Just 22 days ago the Seagulls came to South Yorkshire and made hay in the FA Cup and they enjoyed themselves again.

It had been an open start until the game changed in the 13th minute when Holgate saw red for a wild thigh-high challenge on Kaoru Mitoma. Referee Stuart Atwell initially gave a yellow card but quickly upgraded when he was told to watch it again by VAR.

The Seagulls went ahead seven minutes later as Buonanotte turned in from close range after Blades goalkeeper Wes Foderingham was bullied on the goalline.

Gus Hamer almost brought the hosts immediately level as his jinking run which saw him beat three players ended with a deflected shot.

But that was as good as it got for the Blades as Brighton seized control with a second goal.

Mitoma forced Foderingham into a good save at the far post but Welbeck was on hand to slam home the rebound from eight yards.

It could have been three but Mitoma and Pascal Gross had shots blocked by Robinson in quick succession.

United thought they had got themselves back into the game on the stroke of half-time when Ben Osborn flicked in from close range.

Atwell immediately ruled it out for a foul but Blades hopes were raised when Atwell was advised by VAR to go to the monitor.

However, during replays it was ruled Osborn was actually in an offside decision and the goal did not stand.

The Blades were spirited in the second half but could not test Brighton, who eventually finished strongly with three goals in the final 15 minutes.

They had to wait until the 75th minute for their third when Blades defender Robinson diverted Mitoma’s cross into his own net.

And three minutes later Adingra swept home Gross’ centre to make it four before adding a second with an effort which deflected off Andre Brooks.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has been handed a Football Association charge for his bizarre rant about a sandwich-eating linesman.

Wilder was incensed when one of referee Tony Harrington’s assistants was consuming a sandwich when the Blades manager went to see him after the 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace last month.

Wilder described it as a “complete lack of respect” and also called Harrington’s performance “ridiculous” in an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield after the game.

He said: “It’s yet again another ridiculous performance from the referee.

“Every 50/50 or tight decision goes against us and if that’s what we’re going to have to deal with between now and the end of the season, we’re going to deal with it.

“But I’m not just going to go under the radar and not say anything. I’ve been to see the referee and I’ve told him that.

“One of his assistants was eating a sandwich at the time, which I thought was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager.”

The Football Association has sanctioned the Blades boss with a charge of improper conduct.

It said in a statement: “Chris Wilder has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3.1 in relation to media comments that followed Sheffield United’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Tuesday 30 January.

“It’s alleged that the manager’s comments constitute improper conduct in that they imply bias and or/attack the integrity of the referee, or referees generally, and/or bring the game into disrepute.

“Chris Wilder has until Friday, 16 February, to provide his response.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder praised his side’s character as they put last week’s thrashing by Aston Villa behind them to claim a first away win of the season at Luton.

The 5-0 loss at Bramall Lane last Saturday left the Blades 10 points adrift of Premier League safety, but they bounced back with a deserved 3-1 victory at Kenilworth Road.

Luton could not summon the intensity with which they dispatched Brighton 4-0 here 11 days previously. Instead, and despite dominating the ball in the first half, they allowed the visitors the spaces they needed to take control of the game by the break.

First, Cameron Archer recovered his composure after slamming wide from eight yards to seconds later give his team the lead, charging defender Gabe Osho off the ball before turning a clever finish inside Thomas Kaminski’s near post.

James McAtee doubled the lead from the penalty spot after a pitchside VAR review ruled handball against Reece Burke, as the Blades took a two-goal lead for the first time this campaign.

Carlton Morris got one back from 12 yards, another onfield review adjudging that Vinicius Souza had handled at a Luton corner.

But the Brazilian redeemed himself to net the clinching goal 18 minutes from time, rounding off a clinical counter-attack to slam home the Blades’ third and cut the gap to safety to seven points.

“It’s been long time coming,” said Wilder of his team’s first win on the road. “It shouldn’t be February. The club have come close on quite a number of occasions.

“It’s been a difficult week. I didn’t think they would have expected it to be any different, in terms of (my) message.

“It’s going to be there for a while that (Villa) result and performance, and the whole feel of it. So hopefully we can use last Saturday night, no hiding place. You have to own it as a manager. The players have to own it.

“What do you do? You work a little bit harder, tune in a little bit more to your week’s work, deliver good training sessions which they have done right the way through.

“I believe there was a steely attitude (against Luton), you feel it sometimes as a manager. There was desire to put what went wrong last week in today’s performance, and we did.

“Last week was certainly not how we set up this club since 2016 and through my time and through (former boss) Paul’s (Heckingbottom’s) time. It’s not what the club is built on, it’s not what we cherish.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards reflected on a missed opportunity against the league’s bottom side to add to the 11 points his team had taken from their previous six games.

“Tough day for us,” he said. “We made a couple of costly errors. It doesn’t matter how much of the ball you have, it’s what you do with it that counts.

“Goals change everyone’s emotions in a game. Key moments today we came up a little bit short.

“When we had loads of possession in the final third, we were not precise or quick or slick enough. We didn’t work the goalkeeper enough.”

Sheffield United cut the gap to safety to seven points as they claimed only their third Premier League win of the season with a 3-1 victory against Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Rob Edwards’ side were the form team in the relegation fight but here they were undone by the Blades, in part due to a lacklustre first half in which Cameron Archer and James McAtee – from the penalty spot – scored to open a two-goal gap.

Luton had taken 11 points from their last six games, with Sheffield United just two in the equivalent period, yet despite dominating possession the hosts were tripped up by a dogged display by the league’s bottom side.

They rallied after the break, halving the deficit with a penalty of their own from Carlton Morris.

Yet in pushing for an equaliser they were left exposed on the break, and on just such an attack Vinicius Souza rattled one past Thomas Kaminski to seal a first win on the road for Chris Wilder’s side and shine a glimmer of hope over their survival bid.

Blades flashed Luton a warning almost from the kick-off, McAtee wrapping his left boot around the ball and sending it an inch wide of Kaminski’s post. It was the only chance of a furtive opening during which the visitors lost defender Rhys Norrington-Davies to injury after three minutes.

Luton looked most dangerous down the left where Morris and Alfie Doughty linked up well, tormenting Jayden Bogle on the right of a Blades back five. But on the whole, the first quarter passed in a stupor, with little of the intensity that brought Edwards’ team a 4-0 win over Brighton here last time out.

The tempo threatened to accelerate just before the half-hour mark when Archer dragged badly wide on his left with only Kaminski to beat, as home fans’ anxieties were piqued.

Fortunately for the visitors he would have another chance moments later and this time there was no mistaking the outcome.

Archer bounced the last defender Gabe Osho off the ball with a firm shoulder and sprinted infield off the left. Bearing down on the goalkeeper, he shaped to go for the far corner but instead cleverly pulled it inside the near post for 1-0.

It would get better within minutes, with Reece Burke penalised by an on-field VAR check for handling Souza’s header. From the spot, McAtee fired his side into their first two-goal lead of the season.

Sheffield United had never lost a Premier League game having led by more than a goal, yet any hope Wilder might have had of frustrating the hosts and closing out the game were shot down five minutes into the second half.

Another handball decision, awarded when referee Chris Kavanagh was again summoned to the pitchside monitor, gave Luton a way back, Souza this time the offender as he leapt to head away a corner. Morris stroked home the penalty, and home fans sniffed a famous comeback.

Morris forced goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into a save scrambling low to keep the ball from creeping into the bottom corner, emphasising the fragility of the Blades’ lead.

But Luton could not maintain their buoyancy and with 18 minutes to go they were two behind again.

Osho looked initially to have snuffed out the danger when he dispossessed Archer running at the heart of the defence.

Yet instead of clearing his lines, he lazily gave the ball away to Ben Osborn, who looked to his right to find Souza overlapping.

With a swing of his right boot, the Brazilian lashed it across Kaminski and in for 3-1.

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery was pleased with how his side continued to play “seriously” during their 5-0 romp at Sheffield United.

Villa got their top-four ambitions back on track in style as they put the hapless Blades to the sword in a scintillating opening half-hour where they went 4-0 up thanks to goals from John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans.

Alex Moreno made it five a minute after the break to briefly raise hopes of going for the record Premier League win before Villa took their foot off the gas.

Emery said: “We had control of the game and we were clinical. We got confidence quickly and we were feeling comfortable.

“We finished the first half with a very good result and we tried to be respectful of them firstly and tried to play seriously and practise playing the match thinking of things we needed to improve.

“The most important thing is to win and try to be respectful of the opponent and play seriously in every minute we are facing the match.

“We were scoring goals and we tried to stop them as well, as we did before we scored four goals in the first half.

“In the last moment we conceded one goal before VAR, before we conceded two very good chances for them. I want to be demanding in that moment to play seriously and respect them.

“When you win like that overall we have to be happy but in the next matches we are not always going to be comfortable like that and we have to be serious in our gameplan and be responsible.”

It was another embarrassing day for Sheffield United, just four months after they were beaten 8-0 by Newcastle at Bramall Lane.

Boss Chris Wilder will surely know his side will be playing in the Championship next season as they have taken just 10 points from 23 games and are the same number away from safety.

He said: “No excuses, we were architects of our downfall in terms of the manner of the goals and you’re 4-0 down after half an hour. I am not going to apologise for it but it becomes damage limitation.

“I understand supporters will want to see us get after the opposition in that case but we’ve already had one of those evenings before.

“I didn’t see it coming, I thought I picked the right team, an athletic team, a front-footed team. We were second best all afternoon. As manager I have to stand on the touchline and accept everything that comes my way and it is well and truly deserved.

“The players are on the floor, they are not doing cartwheels in there. It’s a difficult one to take. We are all hurting, a reaction is needed, it is going to be a long week for us. I have to put it right.

“We took a big step backwards today, I can’t hide away from that. That is something that is damaging and something we have to get over.”

Aston Villa returned to winning ways in style as they put Sheffield United to the sword with four goals in the opening 30 minutes in a 5-0 romp at Bramall Lane.

Villa’s Premier League top-four hopes had faltered after winning just one of their last five matches but Unai Emery’s men put that right to move above Tottenham and back into fourth.

Goals from John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans before the half-hour put them in dreamland and Alex Moreno’s second-half goal made it a day to remember for Villa, who registered their biggest Premier League away win since 2004.

At one point they would have had history in their sights as they had more than 45 minutes to try and find four more goals which would have equalled the record victory in the Premier League era, but they took their foot off the gas.

Still, it was bad enough for Sheffield United on another embarrassing day for the club, just four months after they were beaten 8-0 by Newcastle at Bramall Lane.

Boss Chris Wilder will surely know his side will be playing in the Championship next season as they have taken just 10 points from 23 games and are the same number away from safety.

Villa will hope to use this as a springboard for the rest of the campaign as they eye Champions League qualification for the first time.

It was the vision of Douglas Luiz that enabled them to take a two-goal lead within 16 minutes.

First, the midfielder sliced open Sheffield United’s defence with a fine pass which set Watkins through on goal. The England international lifted the ball over the on-rushing Wes Foderingham and onto the post, with McGinn tucking the rebound into an empty net.

Luiz’s assist for the second goal four minutes later was even more eye-catching as he again played in Watkins with an outrageous pass with the outside of his boot and this time the striker found the bottom corner.

It was 3-0 four minutes later with another goal of quality as Bailey cut inside and whipped a brilliant left-footed strike into the top corner.

A section of the home fans were fearing a repeat of that Newcastle nightmare and left the ground and even more headed for the exit 10 minutes later when Tielemans made it 4-0 with another picturebook goal.

The Belgian found acres of space on the edge of the area from a corner, took a touch and then rifled in off the underside of the crossbar to complete a dream half-hour.

Villa needed 83 seconds of the second half to make it five, as some slapdash defending from Auston Trusty allowed Watkins to tee up Moreno to volley home from close range.

United were at least able to stem the tide and threatened to get on the scoresheet but Emiliano Martinez saved from Anel Ahmedhodzic and Jack Robinson.

Their misery was complete late on in the game when Vini Souza poked home from a set-piece but VAR ruled it out for offside.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admitted there was little his side could do to stop influential Crystal Palace duo Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze after the pair lifted the hosts to a 3-2 victory at Selhurst Park.

A frenetic first 30 minutes in south London started in stunning fashion with Ben Brereton Diaz’s opener inside the first 21 seconds, cancelled out by Eze via Olise’s assist.

James McAtee quickly restored United’s lead but the sides were square at the break after Olise once again teed up Eze before he got himself on the scoresheet with the 67th-minute game-winner.

Wilder, whose side remain bottom of the Premier League, said: “We got pushed back, those two players decided a pretty tight game.

“The quality that those two players have, you’re up against minimum £50million for both of those players. You have to deal with that, that’s what the Premier League is about.

“Could have done with Olise having just a few more days off but that’s the challenges you’re up against. You want to play against the best players, and when they find those bits and moments that we’re trying to find it makes it a difficult evening.

“We do prep and we do structure and we have a game plan but I think what happens is that those boys can destroy your game plan through individual brilliance.

“You can have all the plan in the world, but those boys find a way.”

Despite injuries severely hampering their appearances together, Olise’s seventh assist for Eze moved him into joint-first with Andros Townsend and James McArthur for the most times a Palace player has assisted a single team-mate.

The victory eased pressure on Palace boss Roy Hodgson after the Eagles’ 5-0 dismantling at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, where fans in the away end raised banners protesting against the direction of their club.

Yet there were worrying scenes at Selhurst Park, with both Olise and Eze removed in the second half after they received treatment on the pitch.

The 76-year-old said he was more concerned about Eze than Olise, who had returned to his line-up for the first time in 2024 after sitting out since Palace’s Brentford victory in late December, having also missed a significant spell to start the season with a separate hamstring issue.

Hodgson said the pair “haven’t been fully assessed” but “both of them were pretty upbeat after the game, and with any luck” available to face bitter rivals Brighton on Saturday.

The Palace boss said the win and presence of the two influential players did “wonders” for his side’s confidence and added: “Hopefully we put the black mark of last week, the heavy defeat, behind us.

“I think people, if they’re looking at the team now, should be doing so with a large degree of optimism. This team and this group of players are capable of lifting Crystal Palace up into a higher position than we find ourselves in.”

Michael Olise marked his return to Crystal Palace’s starting line-up by scoring the winner in their 3-2 Premier League comeback victory over Sheffield United to ease pressure on Eagles boss Roy Hodgson.

Villarreal loanee Ben Brereton Diaz stunned the home support into silence when he netted the opener inside 21 seconds at Selhurst Park before Olise teed up Eberechi Eze for the equaliser.

James McAtee restored the Blades’ lead before Olise once again set up Eze, who squared things up inside the first half-hour of a frenetic first period to complete his brace, before Olise ensured his side would walk away with all three points after the break.

Anel Ahmedhodzic came close to salvaging a point when he clipped the crossbar late in the second half, but the Premier League bottom side ultimately walked away with nothing to show.

Hodgson’s side came into the contest having won just once in their last 10 league contests, the Palace boss brushing aside suggestions that it was a “must win”, partially pointing once again to the lengthy list of absentees in the first half of the campaign.

His ranks on Tuesday were boosted by the return of Olise, recovered from his second hamstring injury of the season and starting alongside Eze for just the fifth league contest this campaign.

Brereton Diaz opened the scoring following a delivery from Gustavo Hamer and the January signing patiently weaved his way forward from the left before sending his strike into the bottom-right corner, our of reach of the diving Dean Henderson.

The hosts had a handful of chances to reply before Olise added his third assist of the league campaign when his fine delivery from the edge of the area allowed Eze to flick the ball past Ivo Grbic for a 17th-minute equaliser.

United restored their lead three minutes later when McAtee’s effort from distance took a deflection off Marc Guehi, giving Henderson little chance as the ball spun out of his reach.

It was all square again before the half-hour mark, Eze this time taking his time after latching onto Olise’s delivery at the edge of the area, weaving his way to centre and curling a left-footed effort into the top corner.

The second half began with bad news for Chris Wilder, when Grbic’s head collided with Jean-Philippe Mateta as he came out to collect the ball and, following treatment, he was replaced by Wes Foderingham.

Palace, who had settled into the contest, took the lead for the first time in the 67th minute when Mateta’s cross bounced favourably in the direction of Olise, who made it 3-2 with a half-volley.

But those in the stands had barely finished celebrating before witnessing a worrying scene. Olise had gone down and, after consulting physios, was removed after 69 minutes in what Palace fans will pray was a precautionary measure.

A similar sentiment surely extended to Eze, who was pulled less than 10 minutes later following his own consultation.

The Blades came inches away from salvaging a point when Ahmedhodzic clipped the crossbar with a header, Henderson reacting quickly to deny Andre Brooks soon after and neither side could take advantage of 11 minutes of stoppage time.

Roberto De Zerbi believes there is more to come from hat-trick hero Joao Pedro after he fired Brighton into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Pedro scored his first career treble to earn the Seagulls a 5-2 win at Sheffield United, with Facundo Buonanotte’s brilliant goal and Danny Welbeck’s late effort supplementing an impressive performance at Bramall Lane.

The Brazilian striker, a £30million summer signing from Watford, took his tally to 18 for the season in all competitions but De Zerbi wants more.

“I consider Joao Pedro a big potential player and my expectations for Joao are bigger than he is showing,” the Italian said.

“He is playing very well and he is scoring a lot of goals but I think he can reach another higher level and I push for it because I am working for Brighton but I am working for my players to improve them and for them to be better.”

Brighton made the semi-finals of this competition last season and are dreaming of another run, but have a gruelling schedule coming up with midweek Premier League and cup games before their Europa League campaign resumes.

“We try to play every competition in the best way,” he said. “I don’t know the future, in my head there is only one thing, the Luton game on Tuesday evening.

“We have to think game-by-game and competition-by-competition.”

The Blades rallied from 2-0 down in the first half to draw level thanks to goals from Gus Hamer and Will Osula, but they were outplayed at Bramall Lane.

They were also beaten semi-finalists in last season’s competition but can now focus on their relegation battle in the Premier League, which starts with a midweek trip to Crystal Palace.

Boss Chris Wilder said: “You don’t say it before but when the draw comes out it is a real difficult one to deal with, especially at home with the way they play.

“If we’d have limited them in terms of the decisions we made defensively and made better decisions at the top end of the pitch and had more quality it might have been a tighter game and we could have got a result.

“You just get punished, you can’t give away two penalties at home and try and win a game of football. I am quite happy in the terms of how we played.”

Page 1 of 14
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.