Richarlison fails to put dampener on beaten Wilder
Sheffield United’s hopes of European football may have faded after Richarlison’s winner, yet manager Chris Wilder regards the campaign as one of overachievement by his team.
The Europa League or higher was in their sights last week but
losses mean they limp over the finish line after flirting with a magical end to their first season back in the Premier League.
Against Carlo Ancelotti’s men they failed to muster a shot on goal in the final home match of their campaign.
“Top six should never have been in the equation from the minute we set foot into the division,” Wilder said. “What you try to do in a season is get your players and club to overachieve and we have ridiculously overachieved. They should not be embarrassed by any sort of performance or result. We want to finish the season on a high and get a result at Southampton.
“The players’ attitude is incredible. We are going toe-to-toe with established Premier League clubs – just look at the manager Everton and the players they have. They were delighted with the result and our players were disappointed. That reaction says a lot about them.”
In a match with little goalmouth incident, Dominic Calvert-Lewin hit a post with a header in the only meaningful action before Richarlison’s winner a minute after the break.
Gylfi Sigurdsson swung over a free-kick and his Brazilian teammate steered his header into the far corner. “It’s all down to his movement and header,” Sigurdsson said. “His finish, the way he guided it into the corner, was top class.”
Dean Henderson also pulled off a fine save to deny Calvert-Lewin, as two of Gareth Southgate’s England goalkeepers faced each other.
Southgate’s youth coaches may also take interest in who was playing in front of Jordan Pickford. Jarrad Branthwaite, 18 last month, started his first Premier League game at centre-back and played a huge part in keeping Sheffield United quiet.
“It is just the start for him, we have to be patient with him,” Ancelotti said. “He is really young, but he is a good defender. It’s a pleasure to manage young players like this. Our scouting department did a fantastic job finding him.” Sheffield United (3-5-2) Henderson 6; Basham 5 (Zivkovic 83), Egan 6, O’Connell 6; Baldock 6, Berge 5, Norwood 5 (Lundstram 69), Osborn 5 (Sharp 60), Stevens 5; McBurnie 5 (Fleck 60), McGoldrick 5. Subs Jagielka, K Freeman, Robinson, Clarke, Moore (g). Booked Norwood.
Everton (4-2-3-1) Pickford 6; Sidibe 6, Keane 6, Branthwaite 7, Digne 6; Gomes 6, Davies 6; Walcott 5 (Gordon 84), Sigurdsson 7 (Coleman 88), Richarlison 7; Calvert-Lewin 5. Subs Baines, Iwobi, Bernard, Stekelenburg (g), Virginia, Baningme, Simms. Booked Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Referee Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).