'This is when we really learn about your character' relegated Sheffield United are told
Sheffield United have been told their performances during the remaining six matches of the season will reveal as much, if not more, about their character than when they were fighting to stave-off the threat of relegation from the Premier League.
United enter tomorrow’s game against Brighton and Hove Albion knowing their fate is already sealed after finishing last weekend’s round of matches 19 point adrift of safety following a narrow defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But Paul Heckingbottom who was placed in caretaker charge last month when Chris Wilder’s five year reign came to an end, believes the meeting with Graham Potter’s side will provide the club’s next permanent manager with an ever greater insight into the personality of United’s squad than the visit to Molineux.
“In a sense, it’s even more important we step up now and start getting some points,” he said. “What’s happened has happened and there’s nothing we can do about that now. It’s done.
“What we can do something about is what is left in front of us, starting with Brighton, and take care of that. I hate the phrase ‘You’ve got nothing to lose’ because we have and it’s called a game of football. That sort of suggests there’s nothing important at stake when there is.”
“How you respond to adversity, I think, says a lot about you,” Heckingbottom added. “We’ve all spoken about the situation and this group has had a huge amount of success together over the years.
“But they know, in football, you can’t be having your name sung and cheered all the time. It just doesn’t work like that.”
Despite losing all but six of their outings in the competition so far this term, Heckingbottom is convinced United are capable of departing the top-flight with their heads held high.
“We have to try and win games and wins, especially at this level, are very hard to come by,” he said. “But this group went to Old Trafford and bet Manchester United not so long ago.
“We don’t want to do it for other teams, in terms of the integrity, although that’s important. We want to do it for us. There’ll be no shift in focus from us.”