19 March 2022

Paul Heckingbottom pleased with second-half mentality as Blades beat Barnsley

19 March 2022

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom was impressed with his side’s mentality after they recorded a 2-0 victory at home to Barnsley which maintained their promotion push.

Sander Berge scored his third goal in four games when he converted a Conor Hourihane cross in the 54th minute, before Morgan Gibbs-White capped what was an impressive display from the Blades in the second period 22 minutes later.

The result keeps United in the top six and firmly in the promotion hunt.

Heckingbottom said: “Half-time was about the mentality and not wasting all the hard work that we’ve done over the last few months and seizing the opportunity as well as demanding a quicker pace in everything we did.

“We did that from the first whistle second half. I thought Barnsley stayed with us for the first 10 minutes, but after the goal we took control of the game.

“We work hard at set plays. I expect quality and that’s what he (Hourihane) showed. It was a big moment in the game.

“Of course we want to keep this run going and the clean sheets at home and being difficult to play against, but it takes a lot.”

The Blades lost Billy Sharp to injury in the second half and Heckingbottom admitted to being concerned about the striker’s prognosis.

“He felt something,” he explained. “If I’m being honest, I’m anxious and worried about it, but the positive is that he’s experienced enough to know his body and he was sensible enough to come off.”

Barnsley boss Poya Asbaghi, whose side remain in the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone, felt his side lost their way after conceding the opener.

“We had the game exactly where we wanted it in the first half and for the beginning of the second half up until they got a free-kick which they scored from,” he said.

“The first thing I said before going back out to the second half was that they are quick with their set-pieces.

“After the goal I was disappointed with our reaction, you are going to suffer but you have to be good at suffering.

“This is normal for this not to be our strength because we’re a young team, but we need to improve on this.

“The first 55 minutes was one of the best away displays I’ve seen from us this season.

“It’s about rest and regrouping (during the international break), but also staying active enough for our big game back against Reading.”

Asbaghi also admitted his admiration for Blades goalscorer Gibbs-White, adding: “He’s a really good player. They have lots of good players but perhaps he’s the most impressive one.’’

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