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Paul Heckingbottom speaks out on Sheffield United’s 1-0 defeat at Watford

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Sheffield United started the 2022/23 Championship in disappointing fashion as they were beaten 1-0 by newly relegated Watford at Vicarage Road.

Joao Pedro grabbed the only goal of the game for the Hornets as the Blades poorly defended a counter attack from their own corner kick.

The Blades only mustered two shots from inside the box on their travels, and the absence of Morgan Gibbs-White in and around the frontline was clear to see.

Daniel Jebbison and Iliman Ndiaye showed flashes of their potential but the Hornets did look like the side most capable of pushing for automatic promotion this season.

Paul Heckingbottom was left frustrated by the Blades’ lack of chance creation when he spoke to The Athletic.

He said: “I thought there may be more chances towards the end.

“That is my one criticism of the performance.

“When we did make all those subs, and they were attacking ones, we didn’t risk the ball enough and get it in the box.

“We could have made it more difficult for Watford.”

“We have players in this team we know can perform in this league.

“But we need everyone fit.

“Look at Watford, Bill (Billy Sharp) is coming back.

“He is undercooked.

“Managed 20 minutes.

“Reda (Kharda) only had 20.

“Oli (McBurnie) has not been back on the training pitch yet.

“Rhian (Brewster) is recovering.

“We just need to keep working with them.

“As they get game time, they will get better.

“The talent is there.”

It was a performance that will have thrown up a few conundrums for Heckingbottom as the Blades look to back up their fifth placed finish in the second tier last term.

The Verdict

Quiz: Can you remember the score the last time Sheffield United played at these 26 stadiums?

1 of 26

What scoreline did Sheffield United record the last time they played a competitive game at Bramall Lane?

It was a very difficult first game of the season with the Hornets starting a very intimidating front three of Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis.

If the trio stay at the club beyond the end of the transfer window then Watford could be very hard to stop, particularly if they are as solid defensively as they were on Monday evening.

Home games against Millwall and Sunderland will give the Blades a chance to pick up points in the coming weeks, with an intriguing trip to Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough sandwiched in between and providing a good barometer for where they are at.

Heckingbottom will be hoping that their injury situation can improve by then.


Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Paul Heckingbottom speaks out on Sheffield United’s 1-0 defeat at Watford

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