David McGoldrick hit a high note as Sheffield United, who had been relegated, defended several unwanted records by beating Burnley to end their two-year Premier League stay with victory.
McGoldrick drove Clarets’ defense before bending the ball past Will Norris from 25 yards. To impress Blades fans who were present for the first time since March 2020.
Norris made his second game in a row after Burnley revealed that England goalkeeper Nick Pope needed knee surgery, jeopardizing his Euro 2020 hopes.
McGoldrick’s goal, the eighth in the league this season, ensured United avoided the embarrassment of recording the lowest-ranked number as they had a 20-0 draw with Derby in 2007-08.
They also avoided setting a new Premier League record for seasonal defeats. After matching 29 existing marks, and the same number of home losses, standing at 14.
Chris Basham hit the post, and McGoldrick shot another excellent chance towards the end. Against a team under Burnley, who finished season 17. however, 11 points were clear on the axed points.
Will the Pope’s injury give Ramsdale a chance?
Since the game was unimportant on both sides, the most important news came before the start when it was confirmed that the Pope needed surgery.
That could open up one of three goal-scoring positions alongside Jordan Pickford. And Dean Henderson in the England squad for Euro 2020. And Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will be the keen observer.
Few were in the form he was in a few months ago, and he was impressed again when he was called here, praising Dwight McNeil’s first attempt. And later openly disapproving of Chris Wood even though the offside flag was boldly hoisted.
Whether Ramsdale gets a call from Gareth Southgate remains to be seen. But the Blades will be sure to make a bid to get back to the top of the table with a 23-year-old goal scorer.
Of course, United is still looking for a replacement for Chris Wilder. Paul Heckingbottom will also temporarily replace former Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic.
With most of his team working under contract, including a healthy young man Daniel Jebbison, the new manager will have a lot to work with.
Notably, United broke a losing streak that they could not move in the first half. Winning three of their last six games and ten wins in all competitions since the start of the year helped build momentum.
The defeat sums up the previous season of Burnley.
Burnley Meanwhile, they will enter the summer after seven losses in their last nine games, and they looked dull.
While the three-year underdog meant that Sean Dyche’s side had never looked at greater risk of being relegated. However, it was Clarets’ nondescript campaign.
They were taken out of trouble with Wood’s 12 goals and solid defense. Burnley is still recording their lowest finish in their five seasons since returning to the Premier League.
Like the Blades, they are deeply affected by the injury and will be happy to see back to the campaign, as Dyche pointed out after the game.
Burnley’s manager has one year left on his contract, and with so many vacant positions elsewhere. Clarets’ first job would be to get long-term services.
Dyche spoke after the game about needing a powerful squad. And their reliance on players like Wood and Papa is evident. Indeed Burnley has lost six games with their first goalkeeper lost this season.
‘We need more power in depth’ – they said
The Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “It sends fans. People who were there today, home with more hope for next season.
“We are playing in a very different league, and there will be a new man in charge. But everyone has to accept it and look forward to it. We hope that the players will come back in good shape to have a successful season.
“I have never had any kind of discussion with the club about this job. My situation clear took the team until the end of the season. I know there have been discussions about potential management. And I hope there is a decision soon.
“A big decision needs to be made as to those who will be in charge. And keeping the team together will be important. And we will hit the ground running at the start of next season.”
The Burnley boss Sean Dyche said:
“There is frustration in the results and the past few results. But I have asked for a lot of these players and injuries to key players. We have found our captain Ben Mee absent. He has a good goalkeeper. Some slots are hard to fill if you are a club like us.
“It’s been a tough off-field season. But it’s been a tough season on the pitch, especially with injuries. So there’s a little bit of frustration. But to equate that with the fact that we’re in the Premier League.
“It was complicated for the players. So I won’t ask them too much. We worked hard in the end. But after a big win against Fulham, there will be a little bit of that.
“We have also brought back all the layers of these players. We have asked for more. Now we need more power in depth without a doubt.”