Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, struck a defiant tone following tonight's draw with Aston Villa despite seeing his team throw away a three goal lead during the closing stages of the game.
United were seemingly destined to climb to the top of the Championship when Billy Sharp's hat-trick, his second of the season, put them in complete control against Dean Smith's side.
But goals from Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham and Andre Green stunned the visitors, and left Wilder lamenting the defensive mistakes which cost his team dear.
Despite acknowledging "individual errors" had been responsible for handing Villa a route back into the match, Wilder said: "I prefer to look at the overall performance and, if you do that, then we've dominated one of the best squads in the division. Listen, you don't play for them (Villa) unless you're a damn good footballer. But for 80 minutes, possibly more than that, we were on top and better. I didn't see that coming,
“I don't think anybody did in fairness, but that also tells you how well the lads were doing against a really good team with a really good manager."
Sharp, who has now scored 23 times in all competitions this term, appeared to have set United on course for one of their most significant victories of the campaign when, having broken the deadlock early on, he pounced twice in quick succession after the interval.
Smith complained one of the United captain's efforts should have been disallowed.
"He's offside and kicked the ball out of the 'keeper's hands," the Villa manager said, referring to Sharp's second effort which saw him reach a century of goals for the visitors. "The officials haven't done their jobs."
But, as Wilder insisted, there was little doubt United were on top until their late capitulation.
"People will say Villa weren't at their best," he said. "But I think there was a reason for that. If we had gone on and won it, then that would have been down to what we did. The fact we didn't was down to what we did too, but the lads can go away knowing they've come to a historic club, an iconic stadium, and put in that kind of display."