Shocking decisions, no excuses and a bit of perspective: Seven talking points from Sheffield United's horror show at Newcastle United

Sheffield United endured one of their most disappointing days of the season when they were soundly beaten by Newcastle United.
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The Blades, who are chasing a place in Europe, were beaten 3-0 at St James' Park after defender John Egan was sent off for a second booking. Our man Danny Hall offers seven talking points from the game.

Another shocking decision

John Egan's second booking seemed fair enough, after he pulled back Joelinton who was looking to break clear, but it should never have been enough to earn a red card. His first booking was farcical. Have referees been told to clamp down on unneccessary close contact between players? That's the only reason I can think of for Egan to be booked, essentially because Joelinton first didn't give the ball back and then squared up to the defender when he tried to get it back.

No excuses

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Under Chris Wilder, Blades fans have become accustomed to their side 'turning up' - and on the rare instances that they don't, they can at least depend on their manager telling it as it is. There was no bluster about 'endeavour' here - just the home truths that United's players need to pull their fingers out after two post-lockdown games. His charges, too, will doubless have been left in no doubt about what is expected of them going forward if United are going to qualify for Europe.

Where is the tempo?

Wilder alluded to it in his post-match Zoom press conference - United are off the pace at the minute, based on their games against Aston Villa and Newcastle. Too many indivudual players are searching for some kind of form after lockdown, and the result is a couple of disjointed performances against teams who are in relegation trouble.

Subtitute players of Sheffield United are sat with distance during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park . (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)Subtitute players of Sheffield United are sat with distance during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park . (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Subtitute players of Sheffield United are sat with distance during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park . (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Hurry back, Jack

Jack Robinson again performed admirably in Jack O'Connell's position at Newcastle, but with all respect to the defender there is no-one on United's roster who can perform the role like O'Connell. Offensively United have seemed to miss what he gives them - Enda Stevens has struggled in both games without O'Connell overlapping him - and he will be a big miss again if he isn't fit for Manchester United on Wednesday, especially considering United's other absentees.

Shuffling the pack

For the second time this season, United will face the Red Devils on Wednesday without Egan, who was injured when the sides met earlier in the season. Dean Henderson will also be ineligible, and it looks at the minute like Simon Moore will take the gloves again after featuring on the bench against Villa and Newcastle. With O'Connell also possibly missing - and Phil Jagielka damaging his ankle in training - it will be a big ask for a makeshift backline to keep Man United at bay at Old Trafford.

A  view of St James Park during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/Pool via Getty Images)A  view of St James Park during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/Pool via Getty Images)
A view of St James Park during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/Pool via Getty Images)
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Chris Wilder furious at referee over John Egan red card after Sheffield United's...

More selection headaches

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Is John Fleck fully fit after injury? Is Sander Berge doing enough to keep John Lundstram on the bench? Does there need to be a change up front? Wilder has always said that he welcomes headaches when it comes to selection, and he certainly has more than one ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. It's understood that David McGoldrick will be fit for that game, and he's certainly a player capable of linking play - so could be a possible solution to United's disjointed play so far?

A bit of perspective?

Yes, United were terrible. It's the first time they have shipped three goals without reply since losing at Middlesbrough early in the promotion season and considering the teams they have played since, that's not a record that should be sniffed at. Wilder said in his press conference that it is important to look at the here and now, so let's do that. With eight games of the Premier League season to go, United are 17 points clear of the relegation zone and 16 adrift of second-placed Leicester. They will have to improve considerably to achieve European football, but it's also not time to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.