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Chris Wilder hails Sheffield United’s response to Aston Villa drubbing

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Feb 2024

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder praised his side’s character as they put last week’s thrashing by Aston Villa behind them to claim a first away win of the season at Luton.

The 5-0 loss at Bramall Lane last Saturday left the Blades 10 points adrift of Premier League safety, but they bounced back with a deserved 3-1 victory at Kenilworth Road.

Luton could not summon the intensity with which they dispatched Brighton 4-0 here 11 days previously. Instead, and despite dominating the ball in the first half, they allowed the visitors the spaces they needed to take control of the game by the break.

First, Cameron Archer recovered his composure after slamming wide from eight yards to seconds later give his team the lead, charging defender Gabe Osho off the ball before turning a clever finish inside Thomas Kaminski’s near post.

James McAtee doubled the lead from the penalty spot after a pitchside VAR review ruled handball against Reece Burke, as the Blades took a two-goal lead for the first time this campaign.

Carlton Morris got one back from 12 yards, another onfield review adjudging that Vinicius Souza had handled at a Luton corner.

But the Brazilian redeemed himself to net the clinching goal 18 minutes from time, rounding off a clinical counter-attack to slam home the Blades’ third and cut the gap to safety to seven points.

“It’s been long time coming,” said Wilder of his team’s first win on the road. “It shouldn’t be February. The club have come close on quite a number of occasions.

“It’s been a difficult week. I didn’t think they would have expected it to be any different, in terms of (my) message.

“It’s going to be there for a while that (Villa) result and performance, and the whole feel of it. So hopefully we can use last Saturday night, no hiding place. You have to own it as a manager. The players have to own it.

“What do you do? You work a little bit harder, tune in a little bit more to your week’s work, deliver good training sessions which they have done right the way through.

“I believe there was a steely attitude (against Luton), you feel it sometimes as a manager. There was desire to put what went wrong last week in today’s performance, and we did.

“Last week was certainly not how we set up this club since 2016 and through my time and through (former boss) Paul’s (Heckingbottom’s) time. It’s not what the club is built on, it’s not what we cherish.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards reflected on a missed opportunity against the league’s bottom side to add to the 11 points his team had taken from their previous six games.

“Tough day for us,” he said. “We made a couple of costly errors. It doesn’t matter how much of the ball you have, it’s what you do with it that counts.

“Goals change everyone’s emotions in a game. Key moments today we came up a little bit short.

“When we had loads of possession in the final third, we were not precise or quick or slick enough. We didn’t work the goalkeeper enough.”

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