Sheffield United RECAP: Blades target Blessin speaks out | Boss's warning after Spurs loss | The big change United must consider

Sheffield United’s main managerial target Alexander Blessin has spoken out about being courted by the Blades.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 7:00 pm

The KV Oostende coach emerged as United’s No.1 managerial target after the search for Chris Wilder’s successor reached Belgium, where United have a sister club in Beerschot and where Jan van Winckel, United owner Prince Abdullah’s de facto director of football, is heavily involved.

But United’s pursuit of Blessin, who has transformed Oostende’s fortunes this season with his brand of high-pressing football, hit a snag when it emerged that he does not have the required experience to qualify for a work permit to manage in England.

“You shouldn't always believe what is being told,” he said, when asked about the United links.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bittersweet experience for Chris Basham as his Sheffield United return is marred by 4-0 hammering at Spurs

It was a bittersweet experience for Chris Basham as he surveyed the magnificent surroundings of Tottenham Hotspur’s remarkable £1billion stadium after Sunday’s latest Premier League defeat for Sheffield United.

Delight at getting back out on the pitch after over a month on the sidelines. The usual disappointment at United coming up short once again, being outclassed by illustrious opponents.

Pic: Michael Regan/Getty

And desire to one day play at such arenas again.

“I'm not used to being an injured footballer and being in the gym,” Basham admitted.

Blades star reveals Sheffield United target to avoid "sleepwalking" into Championship

Chris Basham has revealed the target that Sheffield United set themselves to go down “with a little bit of dignity” and avoid “sleepwalking” into the Championship next season.

The Blades, already relegated from the Premier League, suffered another painful night this season on Saturday as they lost 4-0 at Spurs, with Gareth Bale grabbing a hat-trick.

They have four games left in the top flight before they return to the Championship, from where they will be hoping to bounce back sooner rather than later.

“We beat Brighton and said: ‘Can we get two or three wins out of the next few games?’,” Basham revealed after the Spurs humbling.

United are handed an ultimatum ahead of this weekend's match at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United’s players have been told that a repeat of Sunday’s first-half performance at Tottenham Hotspur, which laid the foundations for their second heaviest defeat of what had already been a wretched season, will prompt a furious response from the club’s coaching staff following this weekend’s game against Crystal Palace.

Despite being reminded they now have the freedom to express themselves after their relegation was confirmed last month, United were passive for long periods of the contest in north London.

With Roy Hodgson’s side next on the agenda at Bramall Lane, caretaker manager Paul Heckingbotrom has warned a similarly subdued display will not be tolerated on Saturday afternoon.

The end of the road? The big change United simply must consider making this summer

By his own admission, this season has been such a punishing experience it has not only shredded Sheffield United’s reputation as one of the most exciting teams to watch in Premier League football but also their confidence and self belief.

There’s nothing to be gained in searching for positives. And, to his credit, Paul Heckingbottom hasn’t even tried with Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur the latest in a long line of humiliations a squad which only 12 months ago was challenging for Europe has been forced to suffer since eventually finishing ninth last term.

What Heckingbottom is attempting to do, however, is change the mood behind the scenes. Looking even lower on conviction than they are on points, it is the type of psychological challenge even Carl Jung would have baulked at.