Chris Wilder blasts "naive" Sheffield United defending in defeat at Crystal Palace

Chris Wilder was left bemoaning some "naive" defending from his Sheffield United side as they lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 6:36 pm

United's miserable season continued as they suffered their 15th defeat in 17 league games so far, sitting bottom of the Premier League table with just two points to their name.

Jeff Schlupp, a former United target, put Palace ahead in the fourth minute of the game before Eberechi Eze struck just before half-time, riding a weak tackle from Ethan Ampadu to score after running from well inside his own half.

Wilder was unhappy with the timekeeping around the goal - insisting he heard the fourth official tell the referee it was "time" on multiple occasions before Eze scored - but also his side's defending.

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"In the position we're in we have to get off to a solid start," Wilder said,

"Especially away from home and against some experienced campaigners and with the players they've got at the top of the pitch.

"To concede after three minutes really put us on the back foot.

"I thought we were well in the game for the majority of the first half and it was naivety, to play quick with 30 seconds of the first half to go and not to bring somebody down or deal with a situation.

Chris Wilder, Manager of Sheffield United reacts during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sheffield United at Selhurst Park on January 02, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by John Walton - Pool/Getty Images)

"At 1-0 at half time we could say we were well in the game and it was a major blow at the start and a major blow just before half-time."

Wilder said one of the few highlights from a United perspective was a Premier League debut for Antoine Hackford, the 16-year-old striker who came off the bench at 2-0 down.

"We should do so much better with the second goal," Wilder added.

"We didn't attempt to make contact or get bodies around him [Eze]. It's a fabulous finish but then I'm looking at the fourth official counting down, he said 'that's it' four or five times.

"[The ref] was never, ever going to blow his whistle when the boy picked it up. They never do.

"I'm clutching a little bit, but our naivety and poor play in not stopping that goal gave us a mountain to climb."