Sheffield United: Something is pleasing Paul Heckingbottom more than results - and this is it

Paul Heckingbottom has revealed what is pleasing him the most about Sheffield United’s recent performances - even more than the fact they will enter next week’s game against Queens Park Rangers on the back of three straight wins.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 3:23 pm

After making a chequered start to the season following last term’s relegation from the Championship, United’s resurgence continued at Cardiff City on Saturday - where goals from Morgan Gibbs-White, Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick helped them record a 3-2 victory.

Heckingbottom, who helped United dispatch Bristol City during his first match in permanent charge, has stressed the importance of remaining focused on trying to hunt down the top six since replacing Slavisa Jokanovic following last month’s triumph over Reading.

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Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp celebrates his goal against Cardiff City: Ashley Crowden / Sportimage

But Heckingbottom admitted: “The wins are important. Of course they are, they always are.

“But just as pleasing, for me anyway, is the intent that the players are showing. They have a real desire to try and get on the front foot.”

QPR are fifth after being beaten by Stoke City, who occupy the fourth and final play-off berth, on Sunday. Trailing second placed AFC Bournemouth by 14 points, automatic promotion is almost certainly beyond United’s reach. But with 25 matches of the campaign remaining, Heckingbottom is convinced they can qualify for a shot at Premier League football via the end of season knockouts.

“What I’ve really liked is the desire the players have shown,” he said. “They have shown a real willingness to try and dictate what is happening and that’s really pleasing.”

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, is pleased by the attitude his players have shown: Ashley Crowden / Sportimage