Paul Heckingbottom displays Sheffield United's relegation mentality after big psychological step

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12:  Paul Heckingbottom, Manager of Sheffield United, looks on during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United at American Express Community Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Paul Heckingbottom offered an insight into the mentality Sheffield United have adopted in their fight for survival after they made a big psychological step this afternoon. A battling 1-1 draw at European side Brighton saw the Blades move off the bottom of the Premier League table.

Although there is still a long way to go in the Blades' quest to stay in the top flight, they will take great heart on the long trip back from the south coast after leapfrogging Burnley to go into the international break second bottom. The Blades have been roundly condemned by pundits, with many speculation whether they are the worst Premier League team ever. As things stand, they aren't even the worst this season.

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United rode their luck at times, with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and the Blades fortunate to perhaps only be 1-0 down at the break after the home side dominated possession in the first 45 minutes. But the game changed after Mahmoud Dahoud's red card with 20 minutes to go, United going on to drag themselves level through Adam Webster's own goal just minutes later.

The Blades also had chance to win it, Jayden Bogle firing wide when well placed, but had to settle for a point going into the international break. Four points from two games is a great return from two tough games, with potentially season-defining games coming up against relegation rivals Bournemouth and Burnley.

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Asked about the importance of moving off bottom spot, Heckingbottom insisted: "It is irrelevant - maybe getting off the bottom is important because people keep mentioning it but I'm not bothered. Not yet. What is pleasing is how we've played against a good team.

"It is always about the points. I can give lots of reasons why we haven't picked up more points this season: the way we started the season, final moments in games where we could and should have. But until you get them they are just excuses. It is about the points and we want to keep picking up the points.

"There have been moments in every game but in the last two games it has been us being the stronger team at the end and that is what I want to see. It gives us a huge lift."