Sheffield United succumbed to another embarrassing Premier League defeat on Saturday in a 4-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Burnley that all but confirms the club’s demotion to the Championship.

With a win for both sides a necessity in the race for survival, it was Burnley who seized their chances in an afternoon of lacklustre defending and wasteful finishing from United.

A well-taken goal from Gustavo Hamer was not enough as two goals either side of half time for the visitors means the Blades remain bottom of the league and ten points from safety with just five games remaining.

United manager Chris Wilder questioned the leadership of his team after the loss, saying: “I look around on that pitch and there aren’t many that are stepping forward to drag the team through it.

“I don’t want to name names but there were a few players that wanted to get off the pitch pretty quickly after the fourth goal went in, which you just can’t have, I can’t accept it.”

The Blades should have taken the lead several times in the first half hour, with stand-in captain Oli McBurnie failing to score from close range after a James McAtee cross left the striker with only the keeper to beat.

Ben Brereton-Diaz and Vinicius Souza also had efforts on goal as United worked the ball well in their opponent’s half without producing anything to show for it.

Any early momentum was undone after 38 minutes when a long-range effort from Burnley forward Wilson Odobert was blocked into the path of team-mate Jacob Bruun Larsen, whose deflected volley trickled past goalkeeper Ivo Grbic into the net to give Burnley the lead.

The Clarets doubled their advantage two minutes later when right-back Lorenz Assignon dribbled past Brereton-Diaz and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner from ten yards, with Grbic again expected to do better with what was a tame strike.

Eager to avoid another heavy defeat in front of their home fans, United started the second half on the front foot, as McAtee’s high effort from the edge of the box forced a save out of opposing keeper Arijanet Muric on the 50 minute mark.

McAtee continued to be the side’s driving force going forward and eventually was rewarded for his efforts when the England U-21 international won the ball on halfway and put Gustavo Hamer through on goal, with the midfielder able to keep his composure and curl into the far right corner to give United hope with 40 minutes to play.

A golden opportunity to equalise was squandered minutes later when Brereton-Diaz intercepted a wayward Muric pass high up the pitch but selfishly chose to shoot from a tight angle rather than pass to the unmarked McAtee, with his effort being saved.

The Blades were punished for their wastefulness on 58 minutes when Assignon was again given too much freedom to run at United’s left flank and picked out striker Lyle Foster in the box, who was afforded enough space to convert first time into the bottom right corner and restore Burnley’s two-goal cushion.

The game was then put to bed 13 minutes later when substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s strike from the edge of the box found the bottom left corner to make it 4-1 just 17 seconds after the Icelandic winger had come on.

United remain 20th on 16 points and have a league-worst -57 goal difference, with a trip to Old Trafford to take on FA Cup final-bound Manchester United awaiting Wilder’s men on Wednesday.

Burnley stay 19th but move to 23 points and just three points behind 17th-placed Nottingham Forest as Vincent Kompany’s side desperately fight to avoid relegation.