Damage had been done, never stopped running: Sheffield United player ratings from 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough
Sheffield United endured a disappointing evening at the Riverside as they were beaten 2-0 by Middlesbrough for their first defeat in six league games.
Duncan Watmore opened the scoring with a long-range effort, before Paddy McNair scored the second in the first half.
Here’s how we rated the Blades’ players...
Robin Olsen 5
Made a smart save in the second half when Sporar looked to curl one past him, but by then the damage had been done. Could do little about either goal
George Baldock 4
Had a difficult evening at times against the tricky Bola down the Boro left, and was sloppy more than once with his own passing when it was his turn to try and get United going forward
John Egan 5
United's backline as a whole looked a little shaky throughout as Boro ran at them. Dealt with most things thrown at him in the air
Did well to recover and tackle Crooks after his poor ball had put United in trouble, but his recovery challenge was superb - and it had to be, or else he'd have surely been sent off.
Enda Stevens 5
Making his first league start of the season after being recalled at Rhys Norrington-Davies' expense, Stevens was heavily involved in the first half but for all their possession and touches, United didn't test Lumley as often as they'd have liked. Later made way for the Welshman
Ollie Norwood 4
Replaced at half-time as United went in 2-0 behind, but it could have been any one of a number of Blades who didn't reappear for the second half.
John Fleck 4
Booked for flattening Watmore and seemed to accept his punishment. Fell short of the standards he had reached in recent weeks
Iliman Ndiaye 4
Forced Peltier to take a booking for the team when he turned in a dangerous position and drove goalwards, with the defender eventually dragging him down rather than risking him going any further. Hit the post from a tight angle when squaring it to Osborn for a tap-in seemed a better option
Morgan Gibbs-White 4
A few neat touches but a performance below the standards that the Wolves loanee has set himself. Did play a nice throughball for Sharp, but the striker saw his effort deflected over
Ben Osborn 6
Never stopped running and also showed some quality touches, even if he eventually lacked either the composure or the runners to make the most of it when it came to testing Lumley
Billy Sharp 5
Got next to no change whatsoever out of the excellent Bamba, and showed his frustration as chance after chance went begging, was blocked by Bamba or saved by Lumley.
David McGoldrick 6
Came on for Norwood at half-time and was bright, forcing a superb save from Lumley to keep it at 2-0 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Then saw a goalbound effort blocked by the excellent Bamba. May have earned himself a start at Bournemouth on this showing
Rhys Norrington-Davies 5
Replaced Stevens and was solid rather than spectacular
Conor Hourihane n/a
Came on for Ndiaye, leaving Brewster and McBurnie as unused subs