Sheffield United's Paul Heckingbottom reveals the one thing that will make him furious if he suspects it is happening at Bramall Lane
Paul Heckingbottom is ready to get tough with anyone he suspects of not being totally committed to helping Sheffield United make a dignified exit from the Premier League, warning that players unwilling to give their all are “no good” to either their colleagues or the club as a whole.
Heckingbottom issued the pledge as United’s preparations for Saturday’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers continue, with relegation from the Premier League set to be mathematically confirmed following a miserable season in South Yorkshire.
Despite finding themselves 18 points adrift of safety with only seven matches remaining, Heckingbottom admits performances between now and the end of a campaign which has seen United lose all but six of their 31 outings in the competition since September will set the tone for next term.
Placed in caretaker charge following Chris Wilder’s departure last month, the 43-year-old’s attempts to instigate an upturn in fortune are being hampered by the fact his squad is low on confidence but high on injuries.
However, placing the same importance on attitude as his predecessor in the Bramall Lane hotseat, Heckingbottom said: “If you are not prepared to fight and give 100 percent, then you are no good to the team or the club. We have to try and fight our way through this.
“I’m actually not thinking about next season. All I’m thinking about is Wolves and that is it. It’s the way it has to be.
“But everyone knows that how you finish can also influence how you start another one (season). Not always, but it certainly helps.”
United travel to Molineux on the back of a 3-0 home defeat by Arsenal, with large sections of their support base growing increasingly frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of intensity in recent weeks.
Although Heckingbottom accepts results have inevitably taken their toll, both physically and psychologically, he is adamant that no of those selected to face Mikel Arteta’s side were guilty of throwing in the towel.
“That’s not what these players are like,” he said. “What’s gone on, everything that’s gone on, it all adds up and takes a toll. That’s normal. But we just have to get out there and get on with it.”