Intensity, energy, no fear ... Paul Heckingbottom outlines how he wants his Sheffield United side to play under his watch

Paul Heckingbottom has outlined the brave approach he expects his Sheffield United side to take under his charge, insisting they can get better than they were in their 2-0 victory over Bristol City on Sunday as his permanent reign got off to a perfect start.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 5:00 pm

Goals from Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp sealed all three points against City, in Heckingbottom’s first game in permanent charge after succeeding Slavisa Jokanović at the helm only a few days earlier.

The Blades played with noticeably more intensity from the off against City, something Heckingbottom was keen to drill into his players from his first training session.

“There will be some real detail on tactics for some players but the message, about what we are, won’t change,” Heckingbottom said.

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“We want to be a front-foot team, with intensity and energy, and approach things fearlessly. That's the simple message.

“Then we, as staff, have to behave in a way that promotes that.”

To illustrate his point, Heckingbottom referenced a moment in the second half of the City game when Sander Berge drove forward with the ball and fellow midfielders Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White went to support him.

Paul Heckingbottom, the new manager of Sheffield United is welcomed back to Bramall Lane before the game against Bristol City: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“I was screaming from the touchline to get someone back,” Heckingbottom said, “but I’d rather have to put the reigns on the players than have to get them going.

“I know the problems that may come with that approach but we want to deliver that type of football again to this place, because everyone enjoys it.

“Players enjoy playing that way and I don't want to be bored on the sidelines. And the fans respond as well.”