Sheffield United go into the final weekend of the season fifth in the league but without a play-off place secured.
They have a great chance to secure a top six finish, although if they want to do it without relying on the results of other teams, they will need to win this weekend.
This won’t be the easiest task as they face Fulham, who have been crowned champions of the league, meaning the pressure is on.
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Therefore, it may come as a surprise to hear the instructions of manager Paul Heckingbottom over the weekend, who was telling his team to spend time doing “anything other than football.”
However, the Blades boss explained the reasons behind this message of preparation, as he told The Star: “Physically, it’s been tough. Mentally, psychologically, it’s also been hard on the lads as well because they invest so much emotionally into what they do.
”So we’re trying to make sure their minds are as fresh as they can be, as well as their bodies. It’s an aspect, especially when the focus was on how busy our schedule was not so long back, that often gets overlooked. In situations like this, though, the mind is just as important as the body.
”But often, if you want to prepare the best way you possibly can, it’s vital that they are alert mentally and that’s why we do what we do. There’s still a lot of working going in.
”Total concentration, at all times, is important. To be able to do that, you need to be mentally refreshed and alert.”
Upon first hearing Paul Heckingbottom’s advice to his team it does leave you somewhat taken aback, as they are a team preparing for one last fight to make it to the play-offs.
However, when you consider the amount of fixtures they had recently, as well as a number of injuries with players like Billy Sharp still missing, it’s important the players are able to conserve their energy and keep fitness for the big day.
Furthermore, since being back in training this week, there is no doubt they will have worked hard to make sure they are going into the Fulham game as strong as they possibly can.