Premier League English

Sheffield United players come to blows in defeat at Wolves

Sheffield United players ended up in fisticuffs among themselves during a 1-0 defeat at Wolves yesterday that edged the Blades ever closer to relegation from the Premier League.

A Pablo Sarabia header secured Gary O’Neil’s men the vital three points to lift Wolves up to eighth in the table. However, in the aftermath of the goal, a heated argument ensued between Sheffield United’s Vinícius Souza and Jack Robinson, whifh swiftly escalated into pushing and shoving among themselves.

A VAR check followed before both were continued their scuffle in scenes reminiscent of that between Newcastle players Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer that saw both sent off the pitch in 2005.

However 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 had displayed the right kind of fight attitude in the second half to push Wolves into a patchy finish, with Wilder’s men barely inches away from an equaliser late on when Auston Trusty failed to touch in James McAtee’s dangerous ball across the goal.

Their 19th defeat in 26 league games leaves Sheffield United still bogged down at the foot of the table, eight points adrift of safety, and staring at an ominous return to the Championship.

Wolves had also anticipated a season of struggle after losing manager Julen Lopetegui left just days before the campaign began, but O’Neil somehow turned things around and is now among the contenders for Manager of the Year in England as he has brilliantly masterminded a challenge for European competition next season.

Despite having overtaken Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham and are within one point of seventh-placed Brighton, the Wolves manager said his side must improve if they are to harbor 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.”