How Paul Heckingbottom wants his Sheffield United side to evolve as he vows to take positive approach

Paul Heckingbottom wants his Sheffield United side to evolve into a ruthless one capable of winning ugly as well as beautifully, after signalling that his side will continue to take the positive option as they look to make up ground on the play-off places this season.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 6:00 am

United have enjoyed something of a resurgence of late, winning three games in a row before their progress was stunted somewhat by the postponement of Monday evening’s scheduled game at home to Queens Park Rangers.

Two of those wins have come since Heckingbottom succeeded former boss Slavisa Jokanović at the helm, with a noticeable change in attacking intensity against Bristol City and Cardiff City.

But they had to work hard for their three points in south Wales, first going behind to Steve Morison’s men before withstanding a late fightback after the home side pulled it back to 3-2.

“Without giving too much away, we spoke to the players before the Cardiff game and got some things spot on in terms of how we’d create chances,” Heckingbottom said.

“But we didn’t deal with other things as well and our good football got us out of that. They have scored the most headed goals in the league by a long way and that almost got them back in the game.

“That’s where we want to get to – that whatever’s thrown at us, whatever way we need to score goals and whatever way we need to defend to win a game, we’re able to do it.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom says it is vital his team provide entertainment for their supporters: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“That’s always ongoing but there’s already improvements in terms of that approach from my players and we’ll continue to do that.”

Wolves loanee Morgan Gibbs-White scored a screamer to level the scores against Cardiff, before strikers Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick netted to put the Blades two goals clear.

They may need to be in similar scoring form next Monday when the Blades travel to table-topping Fulham – whose striker Aleksandar Mitrović has 21 goals already this season.

“I’ve been pleased with the noticeable attacking intent,” Heckingbottom added.

“Bodies in the box, balls in the box, trying and score goals and create chances. That’ll continue, but of course we want to be better.

“We want to create more chances from regains high up the pitch as well … just improve in every department.

“We’ve worked hard with the players as a staff on analysis and there’s some really good work there.

“We have to make sure that that work is carried out onto the pitch, to give us the best possible chance of getting a result.

“If the other team is better than us on the day, then fair enough. We’ll hold our hands up. As long as we have given our everything.”

As of Tuesday, United had sold just under 1,500 tickets for their trip to Craven Cottage, which has been rescheduled to Monday evening for Sky Sports coverage.

Tickets will remain on sale at Bramall Lane and online until 12pm on Saturday afternoon. Adult tickets are £35, with seniors over 65 and young adults aged 18-21 admitted for £30. U18 tickets are £15.