Sheffield United: How 'chaos' is helping propel this team towards the Premier League

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Despite taking pride in their attention to detail when devising the strategies which are fuelling Sheffield United’s push for promotion, Paul Heckingbottom and his staff are also happy to use chaos as a footballing weapon.

Encouraged by the standards being set by a squad positioned second in the Championship table, and mindful of the wealth of attacking options contained within it, the United manager and his assistants Stuart McCall and Jack Lester accept it is sometimes advisable to let their players off their leash in an attempt to create havoc.

Speaking ahead of Stoke City’s visit to Bramall Lane this weekend, a match United are preparing for nine points clear of third place, Heckingbottom said: “We’ll always have ‘a go’, always, because we’re a team that wants to play on the front foot. There’s different ways to go about things but, when you look at what suits us and the individuals we’ve got here, that’s the best way for us. We think anyway.”

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“We’re happy to go toe to toe,” he added. “We enjoy it and think we’ve got people who can make a difference in that situation.”

United recorded their 16th victory in all competition this season when they knocked Millwall out of the FA Cup last weekend. But after praising his side for the “efficiency” of its display in south London, Heckingbottom believes their last league outing at Queens Park Rangers revealed more about United’s character. Trailing 1-0 with only minutes remaining and without any real momentum, John Egan snatched a draw when he scrambled home from close range. The Republic of Ireland has earlier been responsible for the mistake which presented Rangers with their goal.

“The lads dragged themselves back into it and that showed their character,” Heckingbottom said. “Situations like that prove what they’re all about and how they won’t give up. They’ll just keep on trying to earn the right, and that’s what they do.”

“It gets magnified when it happens so late,” he added. “But it’s something they’d been doing all game and that’s why they got the reward that they did. They made it happen.”