Watch: Sheffield United team-mates scrap with each other during Wolves defeat

Sheffield United scrap
Robinson, centre left, appeared to be unhappy with the way Souza, centre right, had contributed

Sheffield United’s miserable season hit a new low on Sunday when team-mates Jack Robinson and Vini Souza had to be separated during the first half of their defeat by Wolves.

United, who finished the weekend eight points adrift of Premier League safety, were trailing to Pablo Sarabia’s header when Robinson began gesticulating accusingly at Souza.

In scenes reminiscent of the clash between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer when Newcastle played Aston Villa in April 2005, Souza and Robinson’s heads came together before they exchanged shoves. They did so again as captain Anel Ahmedhodzic arrived to defuse the situation.

VAR official Jarred Gillet checked the incident for serious foul play, but unlike in the Bowyer-Dyer incident, neither player was dismissed.

United manager Chris Wilder confirmed afterwards that no further action would be taken against the pair. “I can’t condone it,” he said before playing down the clash.

“We have to be careful – we have got a responsibility, of course, to the young kids out there playing. But that happens behind-closed-doors three or four times a season at every football club, at every level. It will happen at Man City, and it will happen at the bottom of League Two. You don’t want to see it happen, but it does.

“For me, you just move on quickly, as long as it doesn’t step over the line. We talked to boys about it, and they are fine. They were told of their responsibilities at half time, and it all got smoothed over.”

United can at least take some pride in a wholehearted performance. They harried and harangued Wolves. They created openings on the break, James McAtee wasting the best of them with the game goalless. Rhian Brewster, too, was a livewire and twice forced Jose Sa into action.

Their issue was, as has been the case all season, a lack of quality. Never was that more apparent than when Gustavo Hamer clipped a free-kick on the edge of the Wolves area harmlessly out for a throw-in. No one present at Molineux could even work out what Hamer was attempting.

“My frustration is the big moments, the final moments,” Wilder admitted. “We have to find that quality that [Wolves] found.

“If you don’t play well in this division as Sheffield United, you don’t get anything in the game. But if you play well, you have to get something. That is my criticism.”

Wolves in hunt for European place

Wolves’ 11th victory of the season lifted them above West Ham, Newcastle and Chelsea into eighth. Given they were among the relegation favourites when Gary O’Neil was appointed just five days before the season began, to be chasing a European spot rather than glancing nervously at the Championship is some feat.

“It’s probably the worst I’m going to feel about being eighth in the Premier League for the next hour or so,” perfectionist O’Neil said. He was delighted with Wolves’ opening 45 minutes, but less pleased with their showing after the break.

“That second-half performance gets us nowhere near Europe. We had a lot of time on the ball but struggled to find the correct solutions. I’ve said to the players that that is on me.

“When you have to think, process things, and hold the ball for a second, it creates a real uneasy feeling. I can’t wait to get out of here so I can get to work straight away.”

There are many ways to measure O’Neil’s impact at Wolves, with one being his ability to squeeze everything from his squad. Take Sarabia, who has quietly become one of the league’s leading attacking lights, for example.

His winning goal was one of the game’s few moments of real brilliance. Ghosting between United’s centre-back trio, Sarabia rose meet Rayan Ait-Nouri’s perfect cross with an equally impressive header.

“I love what he brings us at the moment,” said O’Neil. “You wouldn’t believe how often we work on those situations. The timing of run, the area he arrives in, is not luck.”

Wolves now face what could be a seminal week in their season. After hosting Brighton on Wednesday in the FA Cup, they travel to Newcastle. Win there and talk of Europe will rapidly intensify.