The Blades had fallen behind to a Mason Mount goal just before the break but were given a route back into the match when Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger scored a comedic own goal.
However, United’s joy from that was short-lived as just a few minutes later, Kean Bryan’s under-hit back pass to Aaron Ramsdale was cut out by Timo Werner and the keeper brought down the Blues forward in the box.
Referee Kevin Friend initially waved play on but eventually he was told to go and look at the monitor and made the call to award a spot kick which Jorginho slotted home.
United were unable to cause too many problems up front after that, despite at one point having four strikers on the pitch and the match finished wth Chelsea going home comfortable 2-1 winners.
Reaction to Sheffield United v Chelsea
Last updated: Sunday, 07 February, 2021, 22:02
- Mount gave Chelsea the lead just before half time
- Antonio Rudiger scored an own goal to equalise for United
- Jorginho put Chelsea back in front from the penalty spot
Chris Wilder’s immediate post-match reaction
Wilder told Sky Sports: "It's an incredibly tough division that we're competing in and when you're up against the likes of Chelsea with the quality they've got and can call off the bench.
"We're always underdogs - massive underdogs. We were fighting with one arm behind our backs last year and maybe two now, plus half a blindfold.
"We're fighting and we're punching and the boys believe they can win a group of games between now and the end of the season and we'll keep that belief."
More to come from Wilder and his press conference
Here’s what Thomas Tuchel had to say
"When you arrive in Sheffield you know what's waiting for you - it feels like a cup game against a team full of energy and very direct and physical.
"You have to accept not all moments in the game are going to be easy and we accept this - and it was good.
"We had some difficult moments to overcome and in general it was a deserved win."
Wilder on the penalty
It looked from my point of view, as soon as the backpass went short and Aaron had a decision to make, but everyone around us beloieved it was a penalty, I've not seen it back so no real complaints about that. Aaron is fine, I don't think Werner gets onto the loose ball which is the disappointing thing. Aaron made a commitment to come out and these players you're playing against are cute, smart and have bags of ability, and they're showing that.
Wilder on Burke’s miss and the penalty ruled out
They're huge opportunities that you have to take at this level and we haven't taken enough this season. We're always having a go, we're always up against it in an incredibly tough division and you're up against teams like Chelsea with the quality they have. But we're fighting, we're punching and the boys believe they can win a group of games between now and the end of the season. We'll keep that belief.
Chris Wilder is asked what the biggest difference was between his side and Chelsea tonight
About a billion pound! They have that quality, as they showed in their goal. A fabulous move, with some quite decent players who punish you when you open the door a bit. The second goal a disappointing one from our point of view, at any level a loose backpass is going to get punished.
We tried to force the issue, changed the shape and asked the question of the centre-halves and it didn't fall to us and we didn't have that quality and composure when it was needed. We had opportunities to ask the question but took a wrong decision or a heavy touch. But we're not going to play Chelsea again and we've got to focus on what's in front of us.
They seemed to lack quality. O’Connell is a big miss, he was inspirational for them and to lose that big part is huge. They have to be at it every single time so to lose a big player, they seem a bit sussed out now. Everyone’s seen what they can do. I like their fighting spirit, they’ve lost a lot of games by one goal and they’ll keep fighting on. Have they got enough to stay up at this moment? I’m not sure, because they aren’t scoring enough goals.
Tuchel on Chelsea’s top 4 hopes...
We are responsible for a situation where we are close to where we want to be, we try everything for top four and the guys have put themselves as the hunters for the teams in front of us. We are close but it changes nothing, we will be like everyone else and under pressure to continue our run.
Thomas Tuchel on Timo Werner
It was a brilliant run to assist the first goal and good decision making in the second to go around the goalkeeper, it was a foul. I think he got some confidence from Tottenham and worked hard and disciplined. I see him stronger and stronger every day and more free, and I could feel him on the pitch today. He was decisive and this is the most important thing, if he can continue like that the goals will come I am sure.
They’re fighting for their lives and then they go and give that goal away… self destruct. Crazy defending.
Souness on the penalty
He goes round Ramsdale, sees the covering Sheffield player and makes no attempt to get out of the way. He could have really damaged the goalkeeper, fortunately for the goalkeeper it was his thigh that caught him not his kneecap. That’s the kind of play that’s crept in to our game, he’s ran into the goalkeeper. The biggest problem for me is that he made no attempt to avoid the goalkeeper and if he’d caught him with the knee he’d be in hospital tonight. Some people call it cute, I call it dangerous.