Pain at Bramall Lane as hosts take the points
Sheffield United 3-1 Spurs
Thu 02 July 2020, 20:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Our first-ever league match in July ended in disappointment at Bramall Lane on Thursday evening as we slipped to a 3-1 defeat against Sheffield United.
Sander Berge gave the home side the lead in the 31st minute, although we thought we had levelled almost immediately when Harry Kane beat Dean Henderson from 12 yards, but the Video Assistant Referee controversially ruled it out due to an apparent hand-ball in the build-up by Lucas Moura.
After the interval, the Blades struck twice more thanks to close-range finishes from Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie, before we netted in the final minute through Kane. The result sees Sheffield United climb above us in the table as we move down to ninth.
We made one change to the team which beat West Ham United in our last match, Steven Bergwijn coming in for Dele Alli, who dropped to the bench. There was less than a minute on the clock when the home side created the first opening of the behind-closed-doors match as George Baldock tested Hugo Lloris with a low drive. But that early attack didn’t really lead to an expansive game of football as neither goalkeeper was tested until just before the half-hour mark. We did embark on a couple of promising attacks which were just lacking a final ball or a finishing touch, our first shot on target coming in the 28th minute when a lovely flowing move ended with Moussa Sissoko side-footing a 20-yard effort towards goal which Dean Henderson gathered.
But just moments later, the home side took the lead. Berge received the ball 30 yards from goal as the Blades launched an attack and he played it out wide to Baldock, who in turn found Chris Basham bursting down the right flank. His cut-back into the area found Berge, who took a touch and hit a right-footed shot on the turn which beat Lloris and nestled in the net.
We thought we were level immediately, only for VAR to intervene. Lucas broke through a couple of tackles on his way to goal and as he tumbled out of the last one, John Egan’s clearance cannoned off the Brazilian into the path of Kane. The striker cut inside Basham and beat Henderson from 12 yards, but while we celebrated, VAR decided that Lucas handled the ball on his way to the ground in the build-up and the goal was ruled out.
We finished the half strongly though, Egan producing a fine block to prevent Giovani Lo Celso’s effort from troubling Henderson before Lucas glanced a header over from a corner.
Like the first half, the second began slowly and there was very little goalmouth action in the opening minutes. We introduced Erik Lamela for Bergwijn in the 56th minute as we looked for a way back into the game, but it was a snapshot from David McGoldrick on the hour mark at the other end that almost added to the scoreline. We were dominating possession and pushing the Blades back, probing across the pitch trying to find an opening but the home side’s defence was resolute and we failed to test Henderson. Instead, United broke down their left in the 69th minute through Enda Stevens, who combined with Ben Osborn to find space inside our area and his low cross was tucked in by an unmarked Mousset for 2-0.
Kane had the ball in the net eight minutes later but he was clearly offside from substitute Tanguy Ndombele’s pass and had another disallowed moments later for a push on Egan. But there was nothing to rule out Sheffield United’s third goal with seven minutes remaining when Baldock found Berge down the right, the goalscorer skipping past Heung-Min Son’s challenge and delivering a low cross for McBurnie to convert past Lloris.
Our solitary strike of the evening came in the final minute after Lamela clipped over a ball to Son down the left channel of the Blades’ area and his cushioned cross was tucked in at the far post by Kane. It meant the England man has now scored against all 29 Premier League teams he has faced in his career – but it was nothing more than a consolation on a disappointing night.
Kane’s disallowed first-half goal was a huge moment in the game. Lucas’ arm was adjudged to have brushed the ball as he fell to the ground after being fouled as he broke through midfield, so Kane’s effort was ultimately ruled out.
Jose Mourinho said afterwards: "Football is about how many goals you score and how many goals you concede. I have to be honest, it would be very easy to just speak about the decision (our disallowed equaliser), but I also want to be honest with myself, and I have also to say that with the very offensive team that we played, we had a lot of the ball, but we were not aggressive enough or intense enough in the last third to create more than we did."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Sheffield United 3-1 Spurs
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson, Basham, Egan, Robinson, Baldock, Berge, Norwood (c), Osborn, Stevens, McBurnie (K Freeman 90+1), McGoldrick (Mousset 63). Substitutes (not used): Moore, Sharpe, Jagielka, Rodwell, Zivkovic.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier (Dele 71), Sanchez, Dier, Davies (Vertonghen 81), Sissoko (Ndombele 71), Lo Celso, Lucas, Bergwijn (Lamela 56), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Alderweireld, Winks, Skipp, Gedson.
Goals: Sheffield United – Berge 31, Mousset 69, McBurnie 84; Spurs – Kane 90.
Yellow cards: Sheffield United – Norwood, McBurnie.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Venue: Bramall Lane, Sheffield.
Weather: Light rain, gentle breeze, 11 degrees.