Sheffield United: Billy Sharp gives his team mates an order ahead of Middlesbrough test following a dramatic collapse at Aston Villa

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Billy Sharp has ordered his team mates to take-out the pain of throwing away a chance to reach the top of the Championship on Middlesbrough this week.

Wednesday's visit of Tony Pulis' side sees Sheffield United return to action for the first time since their extraordinary game at Aston Villa, which saw the hosts come from three goals down the snatch a draw.

Having travelled to the Midlands knowing a win would have seen them climb above leaders Norwich City ahead of their meeting with Ipswich Town yesterday, Sharp admitted United had been "gutted" by events inside Villa Park but said: "We cannot let this hurt us in the games that are coming up. We have to learn from this and respond by winning the next two home games. 

"If we do that, we look back and see it as a good week with a useful point against Villa. We have to brush ourselves down and go again."

With Reading next on United's agenda following the meeting with fellow promotion contenders Middlesbrough, Sharp added: "The league starts to settle itself out about now. We could have gone top of the league (at Villa) but it was not meant to be. 

"We were all gutted at the final whistle. To be 3-0 up with ten minutes to go, you are thinking, ‘This is a good night’.

"It really hurt because we had thrown it away. I still can’t tell you how we came off the pitch without all three points.

"We need to make sure this does not hurt us going forward for the rest of the season."

Although it proved scant consolation, Sharp echoed manager Chris Wilder's message about the quality of United's latest performance until the closing stages of the game when goals from Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham and Aaron Green cancelled-out the 33-year-old's hat-trick and ensured they remained in third.

"Our squad is why we can come to Villa Park and score three goals," Sharp, who hopes to conclude negotiations about a new contract shortly, said. "We have a lot of good players and we are a good team.

"We perform to a high standard. But now we have to make sure everyone is right for the next game.

"I am sure there will be changes. We have progressed from last season as a squad. Back then, I don’t think we would have gone to Villa and believed we could go 3-0 up."

"For me, the first 82 minutes were the perfect performance. We looked comfortable, were 3-0 up but then they got a goal and that put their tails up.

"After that, they got the ball in the box as much as possible and got the equaliser with the last kick of the game."