Both Chris Basham and John Fleck have been publicly criticised by manager Chris Wilder following the latest defeat to Sheffield United.
Basham and Fleck were both at fault as the Blades gifted Leicester City a 90th minute winner in a 2-1 defeat at Bramall Lane.
It leaves Wilder’s side rock bottom of the table with 10 defeats and just one point from their first 11 games.
It’s the worst start in Premier League history and the South Yorkshire are already six points from safety.
With United on the verge of only their second point of the season, Basham got himself into trouble from a throw-in and then Fleck gave possession away inside his own half.
It allowed Jamie Vardy to be sent though on goal and snatch a late winner for Leicester.
It meant the Blades lost their eighth game of 2020/21 by a single goal. Aside from the 4-1 loss to Chelsea, they haven’t been truly outplayed from start to finish in any match.
Yet here they are, already staring relegation in the face before Christmas.
No defence for Basham and Fleck from Sheffield United boss
In general, Wilder has protected his players this term despite their terrible form.
But the 53-year-old has clearly had enough. It could be seen in his body language as he crouched on the edge of his technical area and watched Vardy score.
As the striker smashed the corner flag in his celebration, Wilder took a similar verbal approach with his team.
With the experienced Basham and Fleck specifically targeted.
“It shouldn’t happen because we should have dealt with it. We should have with the throw we had in a good position,” the Blades boss told BBC Sport.
“We just turn the ball over through a lack of quality. John makes a poor decision, there’s no getting away from the fact.
“We’ve made them all season and been punished. We’ve got a catalogue of them, individual errors.
“Two players make poor decisions and as I said, the inevitable happens and you walk away with nothing from the game.
“I am frustrated, disappointed, and in a little way angry, because if these boys want to play at this level we can’t afford to make these mistakes.
“As soon as Bash gave it away and John had an extra touch, it’s not League One where the ball’s not going to be right, the run’s not going to be right, the finish is not going to be right – you’re going to get punished and you’re gong to get hurt.”
Wilder is right
Whenever he can Wilder will try and take the heat off his players and the buck does stop with him.
Yet at the same time there is nothing he can do about stupid mistakes in dangerous positions.
It’s decisions like that which will cost his side their place in the top flight.
Injuries and bad luck can be blamed to a certain extent, but the simple fact is United haven’t been good enough this campaign.
It arguably began post-lockdown. And unless something changes very quickly, they’ll be back in the Championship before they know it.