Sheffield United boss reckons players will be stronger for experience of chastening season as he reveals aim to chase down West Brom

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Paul Heckingbottom believes that Sheffield United’s players will be better players in the future because of the experience that the Blades’ disastrous season has given them.

United suffered their 25th defeat in 31 Premier League games on Sunday evening when they lost 3-0 at home to Arsenal, and are staring relegation in the face after falling 18 points behind fourth-bottom Newcastle United with just seven games of the season remaining.

United invested heavily in the summer in a number of young players they believe will serve them well in the future, including goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, defender Jayden Bogle and striker Rhian Brewster.

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He’s bright and bubbly – but Sheffield United must find a way to get the best out of Rhian Brewster

And Heckingbottom, revealing that United’s first objective is to catch and overtake second-bottom West Bromwich Albion, added: “It's got big meaning for the pride of the team and the club and the players. There's also a financial reward for that as well which the club are obviously massively keen on.

“So that's got to be our priority, whilst at the same time not shying away from the position we're in and making sure we get the most out of this. Because these tough moments, if you attack them as well as you possibly can, can make you stronger.

“We have to be doing that to be preparing for next season, whatever happens. We've got young players in that squad and it's the first time they’ve experienced things like this, so they've got to learn from it and understand their role in getting out of it. And be stronger if it ever happens again.

Paul Heckingbottom is in caretaker charge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/SportimagePaul Heckingbottom is in caretaker charge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom is in caretaker charge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“We've got senior players who are fighting to prolong their careers, who have seen it before and whose experience is vital in order to help those younger players.

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“While we're chasing West Brom down, there are other objectives in terms of developing a mentality and understanding that it's only that mentality that's going to get the good times back.”

While Premier League clubs receive an equal share of domestic TV revenue, and a facility fee payment dependant on the amount of times their games are broadcast live, the overseas TV income is shared in accordance with where each club finishes – so last season, second-bottom Watford earned almost £3m more than bottom club Norwich City.

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