Paul Heckingbottom believed Sheffield United’s 1-0 loss to Wolves summed up their season after their relegation to the league was confirmed.
United have known their fate for some time, but now it’s official. They tied the record for the lowest combined number of games in a Premier League season. There will be six more games to go before their time in the top flight is over.
Acting boss Heckingbottom has tried to stabilize a sinking ship in recent weeks, but knew as soon as he took the reins that the club were already gearing up for next season at second tier.
REPORT: Wolves 1-0 Sheffield United
Heckingbottom now wants to see the group he inherited fall with their heads held high.
He said Sky Sports: “It’s a question of results, isn’t it? The only thing we can control is the performance.
“We have to come out with our heads held high. I think we definitely should have got something out of the game. This probably characterizes our season.
“You just have to look at the physical data of the Premier League this season. It is not for lack of effort. They will give their all and you saw him again tonight.
“It was that moment. We have given the wolves their best chance. We have taken too many good positions not to score.
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“We were at the top. Everyone could see it in the second half. We created our best moment and then 20 seconds later the ball was in the back of the net. This season that escaped the team and that’s why we suffered.
“These are the times. The little bit of quality that has to be there to win games. At the other end of the spectrum, being a little too open and being able to rule out those chances.
“These are the times when Sheffield United were really strong [in the past]. But if you pick a game to characterize this season, this is it.
“We were on top, we missed chances and this league will not give you a second chance.”
Heckingbottom hopes the blades will bounce back
It’s likely someone else will be in charge at Bramall Lane next season, but Heckingbottom has always been able to offer the club some advice for the future.
He continued, “It’s not for me to say what I’m thinking on TV. [needs to be learned]. But there has to be a mentality to come straight back.
“You have to keep the group of players together and look to build and enjoy the challenges of what will be another tough season in the league.
“They had to fight, dig deep and get promotions to get out of this league. It is really difficult.
“Make sure the group is as strong as possible. This is what everyone wants and it needs to be on everyone’s mind right now.
“Everyone wants to play in this league. You need to be promoted and that’s the driving force behind everyone. “
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