Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against AFC Bournemouth, which could see his team take another huge step towards qualifying for the play-offs, the 44-year-old explained why no one at Bramall Lane is celebrating its climb from 16th to sixth in the Championship table.
“We are happy where we are,” Heckingbottom said. “But I’m not satisfied, because that satisfaction only comes at the end of the season.
“There has got to be a focus. When I don’t see it, I’m not happy.
“This league is unreal in lots of ways - how close it is and how many games. Do you know what? The league we want to get in is even harder. It’s my job to get on people’s nerves at times, so that’s why I’m not satisfied. No.”
United’s campaign was in danger of drifting into nothingness when Heckingbottom was appointed five months ago. But an impressive sequence of results, particularly at Bramall Lane where they are preparing to meet Scott Parker’s second-placed side, have propelled them into promotion contention.
However, with seven matches remaining, the margins for error towards the top of the division remain painfully slim. United, in sixth, are only seven points better off than West Bromwich Albion, who are 11th after beating Bournemouth in midweek.
Heckingbottom briefly took charge on a caretaker basis last term, overseeing their relegation from the Premier League following a calamitous campaign which saw United lose 29 times in 38 outings and part company with Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder.
“Last season, everyone was flat,” said Hecingbottom, previously of Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian. “If I’d not had that experience of other clubs, I might have got lost in it as well.
“This year, just enjoy it, that was the message when we came in. There’s a staff who have tasted success and a group of players who have had it. And, do you know what, when we’ve had success here it’s been with a lot less than we’ve got here right now.”