Sheffield United LIVE: Paul Heckingbottom's press conference updates ahead of Newcastle United clash

The dust has barely settled on last night’s victory over Everton and Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom will face the media again this afternoon to preview Wednesday evening’s trip to Newcastle United.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:52 pm
Sheffield United interim manger Paul Heckingbottom (left) and player Oliver Norwood celebrate after the final whistle after victory over Everton: Gareth Copley/PA Wire.

Keep up to date with what the Blades boss says on our live blog, plus all the day’s stories from your dedicated team at The Star.

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Paul Heckingbottom’s pre-Newcastle press conference

Last updated: Monday, 17 May, 2021, 17:29

Hecky’s injury preview ahead of Newcastle clash

PH on Jebbo again

We want to be competitive. Jebbo has earned his time on the pitch, we’ve struggled to score goals this season and putting him in, he knows his role and what we want from him and he’s been scoring goals all season. He’s not got the same baggage with him, so he was put in on merit. It wasn’t me thinking let’s not win this game, the teams are picked to try and win and that’s a compliment to Jebbo.

PH is asked if he’s surprised a club the size of Newcastle struggle each year

It’s the strength of the league, two clubs in the Champions League final and another in the Europa League final, it’s the toughest and most competitive league, no doubt about it. And I can see it going further ahead in the next few years and that’s why we want to be there. They’re still one of the top few clubs in world football if they finish 15th because of the nature of the league. Everyone wants to win things but I don’t think you can scoff at that.

PH on how difficult this season has been for the players

The stats are up there in terms of running but mentally, that bit of spark, you wouldn’t be human if that didn’t get knocked out of you sometimes. That’s been my focus, making sure I look after what I can do, and behave in a way that rubs off on the staff and players. Walking in you could see how flat it was and when things aren’t going your way and you haven’t had a break, it becomes tough.

PH is asked if Jebbison has set the standard for United’s youngsters

Some players come through at different times, you’ve seen the size of Jebbo he’s already 6ft 3 or 6ft 4 and can physically cope with it, we have some players physically ready but not emotionally. They’ll get there at different moments but it doesn’t mean they won’t get there. Not everyone will make a debut at 17 and score, we’d love it if they did. They might not play until they’re 20 but it’s the job of the coaches to make sure as many of them get professional careers as possible.

PH on playing without fans

There’s no atmosphere at the minute, we’re at these fantastic stadiums and we could be anywhere, we could be at the local park. It’s been sorely missed and I can’t wait for everyone to be back in.

PH on prospect of not finishing bottom

That’d be nice, of course. But that’s us relying on West Brom again, we want to win the games and get as many points as we can simply for ourselves. It was nice to be with the players after they picked up three points and I want that feeling again, I want them to work hard and get the rewards. But it takes almost a perfect performance to get any points in the Premier League and we know how hard we have to work.

PH on Newcastle test

They got their good players back, Joelinton and Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, with the attacking threat, and it’s no coincidence that they started scoring goals and winning games and picking up points. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, I bet Steve was chomping at the bit to get them back.

PH is asked if players are now more welcoming of younger players

When I was growing up, it would be classed as bullying and the police would be here every day. That’s how society’s changed but there’s still the same demands. First team players want to win, so there’s a lot of pressure put on you and you’ll be told you’re not performing. But there’s a lot more understanding as well and players make youngsters feel more welcome.

PH on Jebbison again

I met his family for the first time last week and you can see where he gets it from. He’s a credit to his family and the coaches who have worked with him, and to the club in terms of his temperament and personality.

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