Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder accused some of his players of failing to adhere to the game-plan following defeat by Crewe Alexandra.
Two goals from Ryan Lowe dumped the side out of the EFL Cup at the first round stage after Leon Clarke had fired the hosts in front.
Wilder insisted his team should have “put the game to bed” long before Lowe pounced with seconds of normal time remaining. Wilder had greater reservations about aspects of their decision-making. “I’ve spoken about the way we want to play and how we want to go about things,” he said. “Some did that and others, unfortunately, were doing individual things at times. We want the players to express themselves and show some flair because there’s quality in that team. We don’t want them to be robots. But what you can’t do individual things at certain points in the game.”
Having cancelled-out Clarke’s opener, Lowe scored his second of the evening in the first period of added time. John Fleck and Mark Duffy hit the crossbar for United during the closing stages.
“We said before extra time that we had to be brave,” Wilder continued. “That when the opportunity to get the ball forward arose, to take it. To be aggressive and forceful. Some did that but, on other occasions, there was too much going square and playing safe. That must stop. We’ll knock it out of them.”
United appeared on course for victory when Clarke opened his United account. Wilder added: “It’s good for Leon that he’s off the mark but we should have had more out there. All of the other forwards will have been disappointed not to get on the scoresheet, without a doubt.”
He added: “We had control of the game and, all credit to Crewe, but we should have made the most of that after 25 minutes or so. There’s still a lot of work to be done, clearly, but we’ll do it and get there. Don’t worry about that.”