Sheffield United v Blackburn Rovers: Oli McBurnie has just proved a big point says his boss

The goal he craves remained elusive but, according to manager Paul Heckingbottom, Oli McBurnie’s performance against Blackburn Rovers represented a “big step forward” in the striker’s bid to recapture the form which persuaded Sheffield United to spend £20m acquiring his services.
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Starting a match for the first time since April, McBurnie failed to end a barren run stretching back to September during the 3-0 win over Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side.

But the Scotland international justified his selection by producing a combative display which saw him force a number of fine saves from Rovers’ Thomas Kaminski before providing an assist for Iliman Ndiaye.

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“That goal he wants is coming,” said Heckingbottom, after watching United finish the afternoon at the top of the Championship table. “Fair play to their ‘keeper, because I’ve not seen a performance like that for a long time. I don’t mean this disrespectfully to Blackburn but he was their man of the match. That (display) is a big step forward for Oli.”

After Oliver Norwood had opened the scoring with a superb free-kick, United stretched their lead when Ndiaye turned home McBurnie’s cross soon after being introduced. The Senegal international then claimed his second of the contest in spectacular fashion, leading the visitors’ defence a merry dance as he darted from the halfway line before firing beyond Kaminski.

Oli McBurnie impressed for Sheffield united against Blackburn Rovers: Simon Bellis / SportimageOli McBurnie impressed for Sheffield united against Blackburn Rovers: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Oli McBurnie impressed for Sheffield united against Blackburn Rovers: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Heckingbottom has remained a staunch supporter of McBurnie throughout the most difficult period of his United career, backing the former Swansea City marksman to come good following a horrendous run of luck with injury and illness.

“Oli created his own chances,” he said, “Which is evidence of the hard work we’ve been doing.”