Sheffield United out to recreate the spirit from Paul Heckingbottom's landmark Brighton win
Sheffield United boss hoping history repeats itself against Brighton this weekend
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Paul Heckingbottom has called on his Sheffield United side to show the same battling qualities that helped him register his first win as a Premier League manager, back in 2021 against Brighton, as they look to tame the Seagulls on their own patch this weekend.
United's Bramall Lane victory that season was a rare high point in a campaign to forget, but it was the first time then-caretaker boss Heckingbottom tasted victory in the Premier League thanks to David McGoldrick's winner in the 19th minute. By that point the Blades were already relegated, going down the previous weekend, but victory helped them at least restore a bit of pride, with six more points picked up against Everton and Burnley before a miserable season came to a thankful close.
Just over two and a half years later Heckingbottom is back at Bramall Lane, in a permanent role, with United again having their backs against the wall in a bid for Premier League survival. They have four points and could go out of the bottom three this weekend if results go their way and they beat Brighton on the south coast.
Remembering his last game against the Seagulls, now an established Premier League club and in Europe, going into Sunday's game on the back of a famous 2-0 win away at Ajax, Heckingbottom said: "They were a difficult team to prepare for with some really good players and I thought we defended really well, but still needed moments to go our way.
"Neal Maupay missed one that got flashed across about six yards out and that was the moment, I think we were one up at the time. We were strong, we were together and it's probably going to take a similar type of performance this weekend. We know they're a team that likes to dominate the ball, we know they have good individual players.
"They're certainly still a team who have a similar style in terms of possession and trying to get individuals in key areas for one-v-one battles. So we're going to have to be really disciplined and enjoy that part of the game. But then likewise be as aggressive as we can be when we win the ball back and look to hit them, too."