Paul Heckingbottom braced for more Sheffield United speculation despite welcome Wolves victory

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04: Paul Heckingbottom, Manager of Sheffield United, looks on prior to the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Bramall Lane on November 04, 2023 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Paul Heckingbottom admitted that there will still be speculation and scrutiny over his position at Sheffield United despite the huge boost of their first win of the season this afternoon. The Blades bounced back from last weekend’s 5-0 hammering at Arsenal to beat Wolves 2-1 at a jubilant Bramall Lane.

United, who went into the game on the back of one point from their opening 10 games, looked good value for their first win when Cameron Archer’s thumping finish put them 1-0 up. But the Blades were stunned by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s equaliser in the 89th minute which looked to have rescued a point for Wolves - before some more late drama.

United were given a penalty after Fabio Silva - who risked a red card with a clumsy aerial challenge on George Baldock seconds after coming off the bench and later missed a sitter - fouled Baldock and after a lengthy VAR check, skipper Ollie Norwood kept his composure to smash home the winner with virtually the last kick of the game in the 100th minute.

Boss Heckingbottom planned to celebrate the victory with his family, with one of his daughters home from university, and was asked afterwards if a much-needed three points eased some of the pressure on his position. “Yeah, potentially, maybe not,” he admitted. “Who knows? It comes with the territory. It’s not my doing, obviously, and I’m not the one who can answer the questions for you. No doubt it’ll continue.

United player ratings v Wolves as Blades get first win of season

“We’re bottom of the league and it comes with the territory. It’s about results. At this club, what we’ve done in the last two years has been about a lot more than that but results can either paper over cracks or it can point the finger and apply pressure. My focus will always be on the staff and the players and the one thing I can control is how we behave.

“We know there are hidings in this league and games when you’re just not in them. The quality is frightening. We’ve been in more than enough games and into the death more than enough times to have not got a win. What’s important for us now is for us to win those games when we’re not as dominant as we were in the second half.”