Chris Wilder slams Middlesbrough FC for losing all 11 individual battles against Sheffield United - and says he did not see it coming
Chris Wilder said his Middlesbrough players got what they deserved on his return to the Bramall Lane dugout - absolutely nothing - after all 11 lost their individual battles against Sheffield United.
The Blades were on terrific form, scoring twice in as many minutes midway through the first half and dominating the game from there for a 4-1 win, but from a Teesside perspective, Wilder was angry at how his side underperformed and admitted he had not seen it coming.
"They were miles better than us in every department," said the manager who took his boyhood club to ninth in the Premier League before moving on last season.
"I didn't see it coming. But we made it so easy for them."
The FA Cup quarter-finalists, who are two points and two places outside the Championship play-off places, have lost three of their last five league matches but Wilder said he had not detected any signs the club's Cup success was blurring the focus.
"We didn't deserve anything from the game, they were miles better than us in every department," he said.
"I didn't see it coming, it's amazing how the game is from last Tuesday (when they knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the Cup) to this Tuesday and in the middle of that a decent performance against a tough side, Luton.
"You get a feel for where your team's at, knowing where they're at and are they over-confident, a little but complacent, but I've got to say I never saw that at all.
"They've got some top players that really should be pushing Fulham and they showed that but we made it so easy for them.
"(Billy) Sharp and (Morgan) Gibbs-White destroyed our three (centre-backs). If you look at both shapes, it's three midfield players, a 10 and a nine. Their two forwards had too much movement, too much energy for our back three, their midfield players won the major part of the game, (Oliver) Norwood, (Sander) Berge and (John) Fleck, the back three wrapped our front two up. I thought Rhys Norrington-Davies was better than Jonah (Isaiah Jones) and Ben Osborn was better (than Marc Bola).
"The scoreline, the result was the correct one and I take absolutely no positives out of tonight."