Paul Heckingbottom felt Sheffield United missed an opportunity to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Paul Heckingbottom admits Sheffield United’s defeat at Chelsea today was “a tough one to take” as they went out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage at Stamford Bridge.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 4:14 pm
Sheffield United's disappointed players after defeat at Chelsea: David Klein/Sportimage

United were much improved from their showing at Leicester last weekend, when they lost 5-0 at Leicester City a day after the departure of Chris Wilder was officially confirmed, especially in the second half against the London giants.

David McGoldrick missed a golden chance to make it 1-1, after Ollie Norwood scored an unfortunate own goal in the first half, before Hakim Ziyech sealed victory for the hosts in the dying stages of the game.

And temporary boss Heckingbottom admitted: “It’s a tough one to take, bittersweet, because I thought it was there for us and we’ve definitely missed an opportunity.

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“But it wasn’t through a lack of effort and we want to take the positives. We know why we’re not still playing now or gone through, because we didn’t take our chances.

“The players were never going to be able to perform [at Leicester], the things that had gone off in the build-up and its understandable how it affected everyone.

“But we had a week to sort of move on, we’ve had a few sessions with the players and we want to look forward. The focus has to be on the rest of the season, we want to start putting smiles on faces again.”

Thomas Tuchel, Heckingbottom’s counterpart at Stamford Bridge, admitted his side were lucky to keep a clean sheet against the Blades, while Heckingbottom later described Chelsea as one of the best sides in the country.