Sheffield United: Chris Wilder hails one of best performances of his Blades reign as his side hammer Aston Villa 4-1

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Manager Chris Wilder described Sheffield United's devastating first-half performance as one of the best his team has produced after they demolished Aston Villa 4-1 at Bramall Lane.

Goals by Jack O'Connell, Oliver Norwood, Mark Duffy and Billy Sharp saw Wilder’s men to third in the Championship after their third successive win.

Anwar El Ghazi scored a consolation for a below-par Villa, who have now taken just three points from four games and saw pockets of trouble amongst their fans in the first half in the Bramall Lane away end.

The Blades took an early lead when O'Connell headed home Norwood's free-kick on his 100th start for the club in the sixth minute. Duffy doubled the lead with a 25-yard strike after getting the better of John McGinn in a battle on halfway in the 23rd minute.

Norwood had been influential all half and he scored his first goal for the club since his move from Brighton four minutes before the break when his free-kick caught out Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland at his near post.

Captain Sharp made it four in the 49th minute after turning on Kieron Freeman's ball into the box and curling home.

Mark Duffy scores from long range

Mark Duffy scores from long range

El Ghazi pulled one back for Villa in the 61st minute, slotting home after some neat play - but it was little consolation for the visitors.

Wilder said: "We wanted a quick start and we managed to get it so I am delighted.

"He (Norwood) is a talented boy and he has done great for us. He has just offered that little bit of experience and calmness into his play, he doesn't get ruffled.

"When there are a lot of things happening in and around him he picks the right pass and calms us down and allows us to take a pass and play.

"We have played well today. It is one game. We have had a great reaction from the disappointing start in terms of results, not always in terms of the performance.