Sheffield United: Morgan Gibbs-White's importance is laid bare during tepid display at Derby County
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Despite warning against “knee jerk reactions” following the defeat to Wayne Rooney’s side, McCall conceded the visitors failed to translate possession into clear cut opportunities during an insipid performance in the east Midlands.
With the on-loan Gibbs-White returning to Wolverhampton Wanderers for treatment on an injury which is also set to rule him out of Tuesday’s rearranged fixture against Preston North End, United appeared predictable and ponderous going forward as they suffered their first Championship set-back since Heckingbottom’s appointment in November.
With the 44-year-old isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19, McCall it fell to McCall to dissect United’s display after watching them succumb to Tom Lawrence’s second-half brace.
“You always need players like Morgan,” McCall told The Star. “But we have others, like Iliman (Ndiaye) too. There are others in the team who can produce something for you.
“It might even be from a set play. But I don’t think we even got a corner (after the break). I don’t think we even forced a corner. That’s where we are with that. Whoever gets the shirt, they have to go out there and perform.”
Despite commending Lawrence on his clinical finishing, McCall felt both of the goals the Wales international scored were preventable from United’s point of view. The result, which ended their 100 per cent league record since Heckingbottom’s appointment in November, leaves United 14th in the table although they have three matches in hand on sixth-placed Middlesbrough.
“We were under par,” McCall said. “But we don’t want knee jerk reactions. We have to put it right and that’s what we plan to do. We have another opportunity coming up and it’s one that we want to take.”
“Yes, we are disappointed,” he added. “Of course we are. But there’s lots of matches left to play and so the chance to do something is still there, definitely. People will be out and so, if that happens, others have to make up for it.”