Paul Heckingbottom calls for clarity at Sheffield United following relegation



Posted Sunday, April 18, 2021 by PA

Paul Heckingbottom calls for clarity at Sheffield United following relegation

Sheffield United caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom insists the Blades need clarity to move forward after they were relegated from the Premier League.

Willian Jose’s goal was enough to send United down following a 1-0 defeat at Wolves.

With six games remaining rock-bottom United have suffered the joint-earliest relegation in Premier League history, alongside Ipswich, Derby and Huddersfield.

Heckingbottom has been in charge since Chris Wilder left in March, while chairman Prince Musaad Bin Khalid Al Saud resigned for personal reasons on Friday and the interim manager knows planning is vital.

He said: “That’s what you want as a club, the direction comes from above and then everyone falls into line after that. Those decisions are really important. Discussions and decisions are being made and that clarity is important.

“There will be people knocking the door down to be the man to bring Sheffield United back.

“Promotion has to be the goal for the club. The journey, of four or five years, started at the bottom end of League One.

Paul Heckingbottom calls for clarity at Sheffield United following relegation
Sheffield United interim manager Paul Heckingbottom, right, wants clarity at the club (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

“We are now starting from a better position, financially stronger and with much more experience in the squad. Everyone will be committed to going straight back up.

“It’s everyone’s careers at stake, personal pride. They have to take control of their own performances. The fight and spirit is there, we have just been short.

“There has been a lot of hurt in the dressing room for a long time because there have been a lot of games like that this season. It encapsulates the season.”

Oliver Norwood and the crossbar denied Wolves a first-half opener when John Egan’s clearance hit Willy Boly and nearly looped in.

Rayan Ait-Nouri then avoided punishment for a reckless tackle on Rhian Brewster nine minutes before the break.

Uninspiring Wolves grabbed the winner after 59 minutes when Nelson Semedo blocked Enda Stevens’ drive and the hosts immediately broke.

Adama Traore glided past Egan to cross for Real Sociedad loanee Jose to score his first goal for the club from six yards.

Paul Heckingbottom calls for clarity at Sheffield United following relegation
Willian Jose, left, scored his first Wolves goal (Catherine Ivill/PA)

There was no way back for United and while Rui Patricio denied Stevens, Aaron Ramsdale stopped Romain Saiss making it 2-0 late on.

Wolves sit 12th – four points adrift of the top 10 – with six games left.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It’s not the table, it’s how we finish, how we do things, how we build. Next weekend we have a tough one (against Burnley), the performance needs to improve and the players need to engage until end.

Paul Heckingbottom calls for clarity at Sheffield United following relegation
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo wants a strong finish to the season (Michael Regan/PA)

“It’s not about the table, it’s about building and improving. It’s not finished yet and you keep finding problems we have to overcome.

“It wasn’t a good game. In the second half we started better, achieved the goal but we allowed possession and control of the game to them. We should have killed the game on our counter attacks.

“I have huge respect and admiration for Chris Wilder, Paul and the players. We started together in the Championship. I am sure they will react and bounce back.”

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