Sheffield United boss takes the positives from FA Cup defeat at Wolves

Manager Paul Heckingbottom says there were positive aspects that Sheffield United can take from their FA Cup defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers this afternoon, despite being on the wrong end of the 3-0 scoreline.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 7:30 pm

The Blades’ FA Cup adventure ended as soon as it started for this season as Daniel Podence’s double – with both goals gifted to him by United defensive errors – and Nelson Semedo booked Wolves’ place in the fourth round draw.

United had three good early chances to go ahead at Molineux, with Billy Sharp firing wide before David McGoldrick couldn’t get a header on target and then saw a shot blocked by a combination of John Ruddy and one of his defenders clearing of the line.

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Ruddy made a good late save to keep out Sharp’s well-struck volley, but the damage has already been done as United returned to action for the first time since December 20.

United were inactive over Christmas after four of their league games in December were called off due to Covid-19 cases in their opponents’ camps, and Heckingbottom was at least glad to get some minutes into his players’ legs.

“It’s a horrible feeling when you’re 3-0 down away at a Premier League side and they’re keeping the ball, but we know where the game was won and lost,” Heckingbottom said.

“We had opportunities and didn’t take them. They were good opportunities too, and that’s against a team in red-hot form who haven’t been giving anything away. We earned that.

Paul Heckingbottom applauds Sheffield United's supporters after their FA Cup defeat at Wolves: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“At the other end, we gave them opportunities and they took them, and that’s the difference.

“A lot of players were making their FA Cup debuts, Sander [Berge] started after a long time and we had a lot coming back from Covid-19 and injuries. Our training hasn’t been ideal because of the games being called off.

“But we kept fighting and showing for the ball and for the upcoming games and next weekend, at least we’ve got some minutes in the legs and some boys closer to where they need to be.”

The Blades are scheduled to return to Championship action next weekend, when they travel to Pride Park to face Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.