Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has admitted that the Blades’ poor defending in pre-season has affected his thinking in terms of team selection ahead of the start of the new season.
The Blades travel to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday 1st August in what should be a good early test for both sides.
Naturally, Heckingbottom has been pondering his team selection for the tie throughout pre-season, and admits that their poor defending in some of their fixtures has crept into his thinking.
“We haven’t been stressing about the result too much, it’s been about getting there physically, but if you’re a manager you can’t help having one thought ahead to your team.” Heckingbottom said via The Star after the Blades 3-0 win over Mansfield Town.
“Whilst we haven’t been stressing performances too much, you can’t turn a blind eye to the goals we’ve conceded when you consider who’ll start against Watford.
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“It’s about defending better, it’s poor defending.
“A bit of laziness and everything we prided on ourselves on last year, the goals were the opposite of that.”
The Blades’ Championship opener against the Hornets is set for an 8pm kick-off on Monday 1st August.
This is exactly what pre-season is for.
It’s all about getting a look at different combinations, getting fitness up, and cutting out sloppy mistakes ahead of the new season.
If the Blades are still making sloppy mistakes at Vicarage Road in a couple of weeks time, that is when the worrying should begin.
However, for now, Heckingbottom must find the right line-up ahead of a tricky opening day that could see the Blades defence come up against the likes of Joao Pedro, Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis.