Sheffield United 4 Aston Villa 1: Wilder likes what he sees as Blades cut Villa apart

Sheffield United 4 Aston Villa 1.
Sheffield United 4 Aston Villa 1.
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Chris Wilder described Sheffield United's devastating first-half performance as one of the best his team has produced after they demolished Aston Villa 4-1 at Bramall Lane.

Goals by Jack O'Connell, Oliver Norwood, Mark Duffy and Billy Sharp saw the Blades claim their fourth consecutive win to go third in the Sky Bet Championship.

Anwar El Ghazi scored a consolation for Villa, who have now taken just three points from four games and whose fans were as shell-shocked as the team after a one-sided first 45 minutes.

The Blades took an early lead when O'Connell headed home Norwood's free-kick on his 100th start for the club in the sixth minute.

Duffy doubled the lead with a 25-yard strike after getting the better of John McGinn in a battle on halfway in the 23rd minute.

Norwood had been influential all half and he scored his first goal for the club since his move from Brighton four minutes before the break when his free-kick caught out Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland at his near post.

Captain Sharp made it four in the 49th minute after turning on Kieron Freeman's ball into the box and curling home.

El Ghazi pulled one back for Villa in the 61st minute, slotting home after some neat play - but it was little consolation for the visitors.

Wilder said: "We wanted a quick start and we managed to get it so I am delighted.

"He (Norwood) is a talented boy and he has done great for us. He has just offered that little bit of experience and calmness into his play, he doesn't get ruffled.

"When there are a lot of things happening in and around him he picks the right pass and calms us down and allows us to take a pass and play.

"We have played well today. It is one game. We have had a great reaction from the disappointing start in terms of results, not always in terms of the performance.

Wilder apologised for the stadium announcer saying "unfortunately we have only got two minutes added on in the first half."

"I'll deal with that," Wilder said. "We are a humble club and I am a humble manager and players so I have already sorted that out. It won't happen again.

"I apologise on behalf of Sheffield United to Steve (Bruce), his staff and players. It's not acceptable for me. It's a bit of over-enthusiasm and we have got to realise we have got a hell of a long way to come."

Villa boss Bruce said:: "My reaction is one of disappointment and frustration, the first half in particular.

"It's obviously one of those awful afternoons that sometimes you get and you analyse.

"The first half - and the first half-hour in particular - I had warned them over the last 48 hours how Sheffield come out of the blocks.

"Basically we haven't done the basics to give us a platform.

"Four or five of them to be fair to them got off the treatment table yesterday and haven't trained all week and looked like that.

"We didn't see that coming but if you don't do the basics well enough then you get punished and against a very, very good Sheffield team in the first half (they) blew us away.

"Ultimately I pick them and the buck stops with me but most of them were nowhere near good enough for what is required to win a game at this level."