Paul Heckingbottom explains how he wants Sheffield United to bow out of the Premier League

Sheffield United’s players have been told that failing to give “absolutely everything” during Sunday’s final match of the Premier League season would represent a betrayal of both the club and its supporters, despite already knowing they are consigned to relegation.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 5:00 am

Speaking ahead of the meeting with Burnley, which will see fans re-enter Bramall Lane for the first time since March last year, caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom admitted his squad has an obligation to try and finish a wretched campaign on a positive note before returning to the Championship.

Placed in caretaker charge when Chris Wilder parted company with United two months ago, Heckingbottom is expected to resume his duties with United’s under-23’s following the visit to Sean Dyche’s side, with Slavisa Jokanovic and Philippe Clement, the Club Brugge head coach, among the leading contenders to take charge.

Although United are guaranteed to finish at the bottom of the table following Wednesday’s defeat at Newcastle, Heckingbottom said: “We should be leaving everything out there on Sunday, absolutely everything, because we are leaving the Premier League and it will be our last match in this division for a while.

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Sheffield United's caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom: Darren Staples / Sportimage

“It’s the best league in the world in my eyes. Certainly it’s where everyone wants to be, and so we have got to go right until the end. There’s no other way, and that’s what United do. So although we know we can’t change what happens (this season), we have got to go out there and put everything we’ve got into it.”

With United preparing to re-open their turnstiles following the relaxation of social distancing restrictions imposed at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Heckingbottom added: “We want to give our people, many of whom will have had a really tough time of it, something to shout about and be proud of. It’s not been an easy time for anybody, and it’s taking its toll on a lot of folk.

“So the very least we can for then, and I know the players will be doing this, is coming off that pitch knowing we couldn’t have done any more. Knowing that we couldn’t have given anymore than we did.”

Paul Heckingbottom with his assistant Jason Tindall: Darren Staples / Sportimage