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Chris Wilder accuses Sheffield United players of giving up after Burnley humiliation

Chris Wilder accuses Sheffield United players of giving up after Burnley humiliation

Chris Wilder accused his Sheffield United players of giving up after Burnley turned the battle of the Premier League’s bottom two into a Bramall Lane stroll.

The Blades manager, who admitted afterwards his battered side are effectively relegated, took issue with their resolve after another humiliating 4-1 home defeat.

Hollowed out by a harrowing season, they played like dead men walking.

“I won’t name names but there were a few players out there who wanted to get out there when the fourth went in. I can’t accept that,” said Wilder.

“When they smelt blood and were big enough to go for it, we went under. There has been a catalogue of really poor goals during the season. At the moment, there is pain going through pain in every department of the football club – especially the supporters. But we can’t turn it in.”

The boos from those that remained at the final whistle reinforced Wilder’s observations.

By then thousands of supporters had already streamed out. It was hard to blame them – a fan can only take so much. After the season the Blades faithful have endured, this was a final straw moment.

United are not mathematically down but all realistic hope was extinguished after a one-sided battle of the bottom two which saw Burnley give themselves a survival lifeline.

With Luton losing, the two goals in the first half from Jacob Bruun Larsen and Lorenz Assignon followed by two more in the second from Lyle Foster and Johann Berg Gudmundsson, squeezed the concertina.

But at the foot of the table United, seven points adrift, have been cut adrift and are sliding inexorably back to the Championship.

“The division is too powerful for us individually and collectively,” admitted Wilder. “I’m not being defeatist – I’m being a realist – but the season has gone.”

The fact is that United were never equipped personnel-wise for the challenge of the Premier League.

The brittle Blades defence turned to dust once more against a Burnley side who have now put nine goals past Wilder’s side in two meetings this season. That makes 88 in all in the league now.

Assignon’s 40th minute goal, two minutes after Bruun Larsen’s deflected shot had given the visitors the lead, amounted to a red and white-striped sea parting.

The Frenchman picked the ball up wide out on the right, slipped between a bamboozled Ben Brereton Diaz and Ben Osborn before firing home through Auston Trusty’s legs.

Dutchman Gustavo Hamer pulled a goal back for United in the 52nd minute with a measured finish from the Dutchman but Lyle Foster’s 57th minute goal after more good work on the right from Assignon restored Burnley’s cushion.

After Gudmundsson’s fourth – less than a minute after coming off the bench – United looked like they could not wait for the last 20 minutes to be over.

When you are down, the gods of football tend to put the boot in and that was the case with Larsen’s opener.

Wilson Odobert drove powerfully into United territory and when his blocked shot fell at the feet of the Dane on the left-hand side of the penalty area, his first-time strike took a big deflection off Jayden Bogle and crawled in slow motion past the wrong-footed Ivo Grbic.

It was an in-off which would not have looked out of place across the city at The Crucible.

Arijanet Muric, after a sketchy fortnight in the Burnley goal, also pulled off some fine stops from James McAtee and Oli McBurnie. But the Blades were just as much the authors of their own downfall.

As for Burnley, beaten only once in their last seven games, where there is life, there is hope.

Vincent Kompany’s men have a difficult run-in with a home game against Newcastle sandwiched in between trips to Manchester United and Spurs but if they can take it to the last game of the season and Nottingham Forest’s visit to Turf Moor, Kompany feels they can pull off the great escape.

“All we need is an opportunity. We don’t need much more than that. Hopefully we can take it to the end,” he said.

“Especially in the first year up we were going to have to fight but we’re showing we can play with no fear. There’s no reason for us not to feel that if we put in a performance we can’t get a result. The other teams we can’t control.”

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