08 March 2022

Paul Heckingbottom salutes Sheffield United display as Middlesbrough thumped

08 March 2022

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom hailed Billy Sharp and Morgan Gibbs-White after both scored in the 4-1 win over Middlesbrough at Bramall Lane.

Former manager Chris Wilder suffered a miserable return to the club he led from League One to the Premier League during his time in charge but received a great reception from the United supporters.

Goals from Sander Berge, Sharp, Jack Robinson and Gibbs-White secured victory for the Blades, with substitute Folarin Balogun replying for Boro.

United are now in fifth place in the Championship, five points adrift of the top two.

Heckingbottom said: “Too many reasons to go through why it was good. Lots of work goes into performances and it was one of those where it comes off for you and things go your way.

“We’ve had some good results and tried to improve things and push things on and enjoy what you watch.

“The application and energy and willingness you have to praise again.

“We all want to get as high as we can. As the season progresses, results might become more significant and we have beaten teams above us.

“It’s about being positive and winning the matches. The players enjoy playing that way and I enjoy setting the team up that way.

“They (Sharp and Gibbs-White) were fantastic, really good with the ball and without the ball, but they are only able to do that if the boys around them perform their roles and the lads did it.”

Wilder was surprised by his side’s performance.

He said: “We didn’t deserve anything from the game. Miles better than us in every department and I must say I didn’t see that coming.

“You get a feel for what your team is about and where they are at but I have to say that I never saw that coming.

“Sharp and Gibbs-White destroyed our three. Their two forwards had too much movement and too much energy and their midfielders won that department.

“They stepped on the gas and from a physical point of view, we got out-muscled and out-run. I didn’t think we were brave enough on the ball.

“Nowhere near what I expect, and we have produced, and I hope it’s a one-off. I take no positives out of tonight.

“We didn’t have one player who came out of that with a positive. We didn’t have any foot-hold in the game. We have to take it on the chin.”

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