Sheffield United: Oli McBurnie features but Blades are beaten by Stade de Reims
Chris Wilder's prediction that Stade de Reims would pose a stiff test for his team proved to be correct as Sheffield United's preparations for the new Premier League season ended with a defeat.
The visitors, who introduced their new record signing Oli McBurnie at the beginning of the second-half, took an early lead through Callum Robinson. But after quickly drawing level through Alaixys Romao, David Guion's side seized the momentum immediately after the interval when Remi Oudin prodded home from close range. A fortuitious effort from Xavier Chavalerin completed the scoring.
United, who returned to England immediately after the fixture to get ready for next weekend's meeting with AFC Bournemouth, can console themselves with the knowledge Stade de Reims finished eighth in Ligue 1 last term, beating the likes of Lyon, Marseille and even Paris St Germain en route. But even though he experimented with tactics and selections, Wilder will have been desperately disappointed with aspects of United's defending. Indeed two of the hosts efforts, after Robinson had earlier opened the scoring with another memorable strike, could be attributed to indecision at the back.
There were, however, plenty of positives for Wilder to digest on the flight back home. McBurnie, 24 hours after completing his £20m transfer from Swansea City, produced some neat touches and showed signs of developing a potentially profitable partnership with fellow substitute Billy Sharp.
But the pick of the bunch was Robinson, the former Preston North End forward, who claimed his fourth of pre-season at the beginning of the game. It was another excellent strike from the Republic of Ireland international, who has pressed his case for a start at the Vitality Stadium in the strongest possible terms.
Reims, whose movement and one touch passing caused problems, restored parity when Romao tapped home after Dean Henderson had parried an earlier shot. A simple ball over the top presented Oudin, who had earlier forced a good save from Henderson, with the chance to edge Reims in front and it was one he duly took. Chavalerin stretched Reims' advantage soon after, with a cross which floated through United's rearguard before somehow being allowed to reach the back of their net.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock (K Freeman 77), Stevens (Jagielka 77), Fleck, Basham, Lundstram (L Freeman 66), Robinson (Sharp 66), Egan, Norwood (Morrison 77), McGoldrick (McBurnie 46), Bryan (Osborn 46). Not used: Moore, Stearman