Sheffield United boss’s verdict on “offside” goal and James McAtee quality in Sunderland win

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Blades boss has sympathy for opposite number after controversial winner at Stadium of Light

Paul Heckingbottom had some sympathy for his opposite number Tony Mowbray after Sheffield United beat Sunderland tonight in another potentially-huge result in the race for the Premier League.

United bounced back from their weekend defeat at home to Luton Town to beat the Black Cats 2-1 on their own turf, goals from James McAtee and Tommy Doyle sending the Blades six points clear of third-placed Middlesbrough in the Championship standings.

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There was some controversy over Doyle's winner, the Manchester City loanee's free-kick finding the back of the net after coming through a crowd of players. Replays showed three Blades players were offside and although none got a touch, Sunderland boss Mowbray felt the flag should have been raised.

And Heckingbottom admitted: "If I'm Tony, I'm claiming for that. One hundred per cent. We've seen enough decisions go against us and we want one of those every game now.

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"It's harsh on Tony and Sunderland. He's not blocking the 'keeper's sight and there's no touch, I don't know the exact law. We always aim for that, to make it hard for the goalkeeper because he can't move until the ball goes past."

On Doyle's City teammate McAtee, whose equaliser in first-half injury time was his fifth in Blades colours, Heckingbottom added: "Good quality, good finish.

"We got him and Iliman [Ndiaye] in some real good positions first half and wanted more from them, with the amount of ball we had in and around the box. But the goal showed composure and quality, which we know he's got."

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