Sheffield United: How Paul Heckingbottom believes his team can boost their Premier League chances

Sheffield United can use the lessons they learned during Sunday’s FA Cup defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers to help them reach the Premier League next season, according to manager Paul Heckingbottom.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 5:05 pm

The 44-year-old suffered his first defeat since being appointed as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor when United were beaten at Molineux three days ago.

Although Heckingbottom expressed his disappointment at the result - correctly insisting the 3-0 scoreline did not reflect his team’s contribution to the game - he is adamant the experience of facing top-flight opposition will prove beneficial as attention turns towards Saturday’s game against Championship rivals Derby County.

Read More

Read More
As the transfer window opens once more, get 30% OFF an annual sports subscriptio...

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I think it was a reminder of the levels,” Heckingbottom said, “About them being clinical and us not being with the opportunities created. That was something that shows how it’s what happens in and around both boxes that settles matches. How good you are at both ends of the pitch is what’s important and that’s something we should take away from that game with us.”

United are preparing for the trip to Pride Park, where County have offered their former player Phil Jagielka a new contract, 13th in the table. With games in hand on the majority of those above them, Heckingbottom is confident that play-off qualification remains a realistic target for a squad which has won all of its league matches under his command.

“There were things that happened at Wolves we should be proud of,” Heckingbottom said, “Such as the application and game plan - how it can create chances. The mistakes I won’t dwell on, because they weren’t meant.”

Sheffield United will look to get back to winning ways at Derby County this weekend: Alistair Langham / Sportimage