Chris Wilder has challenged his Sheffield United team to earn an open-top-bus parade by qualifying for Europe rather than finishing top of the table for bad decisions.
The Blades travel to Newcastle on Sunday sitting sixth in the Premier League and just four points shy of the top four in their first season back in the top flight.
However, they will do so still smarting after two points slipped from their grasp in controversial fashion on their return to action at Aston Villa on Wednesday evening courtesy of a “ghost” goal which was not awarded.
Asked about the incident at Villa Park, manager Wilder said: “We are top of that league of Premier League VAR decisions going against us and from our point of view, we don’t want it up on the honours board that we’ve won that division.
“We don’t want an open-top-bus tour when we win that division of bad VAR decisions. We might have an open-top-bus tour if we get into Europe because if we get into Europe, this football club, it would be right up there as one of the greatest achievements this club has had for decades.
“Everybody has talked to me right the way through the season about coming to the right decision. Some decisions we have been disappointed with, some decisions we’ve agreed with. Some have gone for us and some have gone against us and we’ve taken it on the chin.
“We’ll take this one on the chin because part of being a pro, part of being in this game, you have to deal with disappointments and we’ve dealt with disappointments exceptionally well.
I don’t think anybody would have commented on it if VAR had given it
“But I feel it’s unacceptable. We should have come to a decision, VAR should have made that decision in Stockley Park. I don’t think anybody would have commented on it if VAR had given it.
“But hey-ho, it won’t happen again, so that’s good for us and comforting. Not.”
United thought they had taken the lead when Villa keeper Orjan Nyland appeared to carry the ball into his own net, but referee Michael Oliver was not alerted by the goal-line technology and VAR did not correct the decision despite television footage making a strong case for a goal to be awarded.
Wilder said: “It’s not like a subjective VAR decision. The pictures are conclusive and the goal should have stood.
“Technology has let us down, but it should have been backed up by a bit of courage and I didn’t see much of that on the night from Stockley Park.”