Sheffield United created headlines of their own as we welcomed Barnet to Bramall Lane on Sunday for the FA Cup third round clash.
It was the perfect tie for a typical Cup upset and unfortunately what could go wrong for us on the day did, and the performance of the players across the 90 minutes wrote their own giant-killing headlines.
The visitor had the lead 21 minutes into the first half as Shaquile Coulthirst converted their penalty opportunity and we simply had no reply.
The Blades were much changed for the game with manager Chris Wilder rotating the pack, but he wouldn’t have expected that showing and those who came in did themselves no favours when it came to future selections.
We did improve as the game went on, but that’s not saying much – Barnet are the only non-league side in tonight’s fourth round draw, and that tells a story on its own.
Speaking to the Sky Sports following the fulltime whistle, Wilder absolutely blasted a lack of professionalism and respect from the side in the way they approached our lower tier opposition.
“No complaints. We’re quite fortunate that it’s not been two or three. They were the better team in every part of the game. I said to the boys, ‘don’t go out through the main entrance, you don’t deserve it. Find a door to sneak out of’. It was a performance of arrogance, going off plan and doing what they wanted to. The fans should have booed the players louder – we’ve got an identity of playing and we are a team that has a go. We went out the back door today – that is incredibly difficult for me to take.”
You’d have thought he’d said enough there, but he wasn’t finished yet – especially with one eye on the January window now that’s open.
“That team was good enough to win games of football. I will take responsibility because they are players that I’ve signed and hopefully it was a one-off, but I felt there was a real arrogance about the players today. This hurts as much as any defeat that I’ve had in my time. I’m not just going to sweep it under the carpet, I’m not going to go along with, ‘it’s better to be out the cup because of the league position’ – that’s rubbish. I won’t be forgetting it. I’m looking at today and thinking that we might not need one, we might need 11 – the players that played today will struggle to be a part of things going forward.”
I doubt there are many fans who disagree with him, fans will just have used far fewer words to describe the performance and the kind of words I can’t publish here.