Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom reveals what happened at half-time during his team's win over Cardiff City
After listening to Steve Morison acknowledge Sheffield United’s experience and tactical awareness had proved crucial during their victory over Cardiff City, visiting manager Paul Heckingbottom revealed a good old fashioned rollicking during the half-time interval also helped change the course of the contest.
Second-half goals from Morgan Gibbs-White, Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick saw United record their second win in two outings since appointing Heckingbottom as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor last month.
Having completed spells in charge of Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian before moving to Bramall Lane, initially to oversee the club’s development programme, Heckingbottom’s ability to identify weaknesses in City’s armoury helped United take full advantage following Sean Morrison’s sending-off.
Despite explaining the thinking behind his decision to change Gibbs-White’s position when Morrison saw red - “We wanted to get him on the ball more, so we decided to bring him in more centrally” - Heckingbottom nevertheless admitted he had resorted to more brutal methods after watching Mark Harris fire City in front.
“I was angry at half-time and I let the lads know it, we all did,” Heckingbottom said, after warning his players of the aerial threat Morison’s team would pose beforehand. “We came unstuck because of something they are really good at, but also something that we’d spoken about at length about.
“They were getting far too many first and second contacts in our penalty box. Nevermind the chances that we missed, that was even more annoying because you are always going to miss some chances - it happens.”
“I was pleased with how we responded though,” he added. “We let them know what we thought and I thought we became much more clinical. Not only in front of goal but also in everything else that we did.”
Although Mark McGuiness reduced the deficit late on, heading home from a corner as City again made their physicality count, both Heckingbottom and Morison felt the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.
“Sometimes it can be harder against 10 men because they drop back, everything gets condensed and all the space around the penalty box disappears,” Heckingbottom said. “One of the things that pleased me was how we coped with that, and thought our way through it.”