Chris Wilder torn on Mason Holgate's moment of madness but admits it changed the game for Sheffield United

Chris Wilder said he was torn between anger and sympathy to Mason Holgate after the decision which totally skewed Sheffield United's 5-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

The on-loan Everton defender was sent off after 13 minutes when referee Stuart Attwell upgraded the yellow card he showed to a read after re-watching a reckless tackle on Brighton's Karou Mitoma.

The scoreline was 0-0 but Brighton quickly took advantage to score twice and although the Blades defending stoically for more than 50 minutes, a burst of three goals in 10 minutes left the damage at 5-0.

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It was the third home game running the bottom-of-the-Premier League side had conceded five times.

UNCOMFORTABLE VIEWING: Sheffield United manager Chris WilderUNCOMFORTABLE VIEWING: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
UNCOMFORTABLE VIEWING: Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Asked what he thought of the red card, Wilder admitted Attwell's second decision was the right one.

"I'm torn because I'm a competitor but it was a very, very strong challenge and the game's moved on," said the former full-back.

"Some people won't want the game to move on but challenging in that way is deemed not acceptable so we've got no excuses, nowhere to hide.

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"The referee gave a yellow card straight away but once it got slowed down – which never makes it good viewing, and it's something I'm not sure they should do – he has somebody in his ear at Stockley Park, after 12-and-a-half minutes against a side that passes the ball more in the Premier League than any other team and they're the second most possession-based team in the division.

"The feel of the game and the scoreline got decided on one moment for me, 100 per cent we wouldn't have got done 5-0.

"I'm not saying we'd have comfortably won but we'd have posed more of a threat and had more stability at the back and more of the game.

"It's difficult when you're down to 10 men trying to get back into the game. Better managers than me – there's quite a lot of them around at the moment, I should imagine – and bigger, better clubs than Sheffield United would have found it difficult.

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"Even if they were playing one of the top sides – Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, I think they'd have struggled going down to 10 because of the way they (Brighton) play."

Wilder was pleased how long his side kept the score at 2-0, but unhappy the floodgates opened again.

"Unfortunately, just on the 75-minute mark, it's an own goal which is completely avoidable, it's a poor decision, he can clear it behind the goal," he said.

"The game's gone then, we're not going to score three.

"We talk about periods of the games, can we get through the first 15 minutes of the second half, we did.

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"Then we talk about the next 15 minutes and if we get to that we had substitutes we were waiting to get onto the pitch to open it up and go 4-3-2 and see what happens in the last 15 minutes.

"A trend and a trait that isn't great is the concession of quickfire goals which has happened too many times now. One and two in quick succession, three and four quick succession, it's something we have to do so much better.

"Where does that come from? Experience or leadership, we're trying to work out but certainly from an attitude point of view this is really hurting us."