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Wilder ‘torn’ over Holgate red as Redknapp lambasts ‘scandalous’ foul

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder said he was “torn” over Mason Holgate’s red card but admitted he had no complaints about the on-loan defender being sent off against Brighton.

Holgate, who was only playing his third match for the club since a January loan move from Everton, was dismissed 13 minutes into the 5-0 home defeat by Brighton on Super Sunday. The manner of the defeat marked the first time an English top-flight team has ever conceded five or more goals in three consecutive matches.

Referee Stuart Attwell initially showed the defender a yellow card before VAR Michael Oliver sent him to the review monitor, with Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp later describing the foul on Kaoru Mitoma, which caught the Japan winger halfway up his leg, as “scandalous”.

Wilder said he could not argue with the upgraded decision but offered a caveat to the changing approach to the level of force permitted in tackles over time.

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Holgate is sent off in the 13th minute for a ‘horrible challenge’

“I’m torn between this,” he said. “I’m a competitor, it was a very strong challenge. The game’s moved on. Some people won’t want it to move on, will expect physical contact, excessive force or whatever you call it, winning the ball and challenging in that way is deemed unacceptable. We’ve got no excuses, nowhere to hide.

“The ref gave a yellow card straight away and thought it wasn’t [a red] straight away, but when he went over to the monitor and saw it slowed down, which never makes it good viewing. It’s something I’m not sure we should do because there’s a lot of challenges [which would look worse].”

Wilder’s view on Holgate’s challenge was less pronounced than Redknapp, who labelled it as one of the worst he had seen – and said it would have been just as out of place before he retired as a player in 2005.

“It’s one of the worst tackles I’ve seen in years. Even in my era, that would’ve been a scandalous tackle,” he told Sky Sports.

“How on earth Mitoma’s managed to get his leg out of the way, I’ve no idea but thank goodness he has or that’s career-ending.

“I feel so sorry for Chris Wilder when you have a player who does that. I’ve got no idea what he’s thinking, he’s cost his team.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Sheffield United and Brighton

Wilder sympathised with his players despite the brutal scoreline, labelling their second successive 5-0 home league defeat as harsh given the Blades had limited Brighton to a two-goal lead until the 75th minute.

“We got off to a decent start but you go down to 10 men after 12 minutes, it’s a tough ask,” he told Sky Sports. “You go down to 10 men against a team like Brighton, they move you all over the pitch and expose you.

“Yeah, we’re disappointed with a couple of the goals we’ve conceded, there’s plenty of fight left in the team and the game plan at half-time was to go deep into the game, and if there were going to be decisions made by myself to open up, we’d do it.

“We got to 74, 75 minutes, talked about getting to 75-80 minutes and opening up, and stick a couple of players at the top of the pitch and go for it. We conceded one on 75 and then another which has been a trend for the team, goals going in pretty quickly one after the other.

“That takes the game away from us, the game’s gone and the way they are, how they keep the ball and move you about with 10 men, fatigue sets in. It’s not feeling sorry for yourself, but you’re at a low obviously and in that moment.

“It looks like a hell of a beating, I thought the players’ attitude was great. We asked them to stick in there, to stick deep into the game. We had a couple of half chances which might have made it a little bit interesting. It’s a harsh scoreline, but it’s a harsh division and we have to suck it up.”

Sky News
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