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Paul Heckingbottom future at Sheffield United ‘under pressure’ with Chris Wilder ‘in attendance’

The future of Paul Heckingbottom at Sheffield United is ‘under increasing pressure’ with Chris Wilder ‘in attendance’ in their latest defeat.

The Blades are said to be considering a move to bring their former boss back to the Bramall Lane touchline after their winless run extended to five games in the late defeat against Tottenham on Saturday afternoon.

Mail Sport first reported that that Paul Heckingbottom’s position is now in ‘serious jeopardy’, with Sheffield United now sitting 17th in the Premier League table after picking up four defeats and just a point which came against Everton.

Wilder was last in charge of the club in 2021, where he was appointed in 2016 and guided them from League One to winning promotion to the Premier League in 2019.

Wilder was got rid of two years later with the Blades sitting bottom of the table with only 14 points from 28 games.

He hasn’t been managing since leaving Watford at the end of his short-term contract in the summer.

Wilder is said to have a good relationship again with owner Prince Abdullah after the fractious way his time ended to last time out and will find it tough to turn down the role should he be given the role again.

The Star report that in an interview with the local press earlier this month (September), Sheffield United chief executive Stephen Bettis was questioned if boss Heckingbottom’s job was “completely safe”. He replied “Yes” and that Paul would be backed whatever happens this season, though ‘left no room for interpretation’.

Bettis added: “He’s done a great job. Everyone’s really happy with what Paul’s done. He’s been excellent.

“He’s smart, he thinks about the big picture. He understands the needs and wants of a football club, not just the needs and wants of a manager.”

It remains to be seen as to how this plays out, but given the recent comments from Bettis, it sounds as though it would be a huge surprise if Hecky was got rid of. As we know in football though, things can change quick. One to keep an eye on, but the fans seem relatively satisfied with the man they have at least for now.

Spurs produced a surprise stoppage-time win over Sheffield United. Gustavo Hamer had given the Blades a second-half lead, before Richarlison headed in an equaliser on the eighth minute of stoppage-time, then Dejan Kulusevski fired in winner the two minutes later to spark wild celebrations inside the stadium.

Player ratings (as per Sky Sports)

Tottenham: Vicario (7); Porro (6), Romero (7), Van de Ven (7), Udogie (7); Sarr (7), Bissouma (8); Kulusevski (8), Maddison (7), Solomon (7); Son (6).

Subs: Johnson (6), Richarlison (8), Perisic (7), Hojbjerg (n/a), Royal (n/a).

Sheffield United: Foderingham (8); Ahmedhodzic (6), Basham (6), Robinson (7); Bogle (6), Souza (7), McAtee (6), Hamer (8), Thomas (6); McBurnie (5), Archer (6).

Subs: Norwood (6), T Davies (6), Trusty (6).

Player of the match: Richarlison.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom to BBC Match of the Day: “Obviously it’s sickening for everyone involved in the dressing room. To come so close to three points, then thinking you’re going to have settle for one, and come away with nothing.

“Ultimately that’s what we play for, we play for the points and that’s why it hurts. But that doesn’t alter the performance. Obviously in the week we’ll focus on how we can be better, but right now we have to be positive about how we played. You can see how they celebrated when they won the game, we did that to them. I’d rather have the points than be saying that to you, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.

“We have to take it on the chin and be ready for next week.

“The majority of their play was outside the box, you have to accept you will give the other team something. So for us to limit them like that, that was pleasing. If we could have took one or two more of our chances, that would have been really ruthless. There’s bits that we could do better, but overall another improved performance.

“It was an appalling game the way it was managed. I know Spurs won the football match but I was saying the same thing at 0-0. At half-time I came to see the referee, when we were 1-0 I was saying the same things.

“The referees are dictating to our goalkeeper how we play. You see from minute one we split, Spurs adjust what they do so we have to adjust again. All of a sudden our keeper is booked for handling outside and he’s told he’s going to get another yellow if he doesn’t play the ball.

“But we have to wait and see how Spurs are going to stop us playing out before he can make a decision. They don’t understand what I’m saying to them and they’re refereeing a game in the top flight. Peter Banks’ a good guy, but this is nothing new. It’s sad.

“Wes (Foderingham) got jumped into by a player who turned his back and led with his elbow, stitches. Deemed the same offence by the referee as Ollie McBurnie saying someone is pulling his shirt. Where are we going? Where are we going? It’s tough for me, we all love the game but the people who know the least about football are directing where the game is going. And that’s what I can’t take.

“Crazy. Absolutely barmy, but we’re letting these guys run our game and we need to stop them.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom to Sky Sports: “Spurs are a very good team, and we had to really defend well but also when we could, we played. We created chances ourselves and up until the very end we limited Spurs to efforts from outside the box.

“Sometimes you’ve got to accept you’re going to give some things away. We defended our box very well and went in front, missed a couple of really good chances ourselves, so to lose a game in that way is really cruel. But it doesn’t change our performance.

“Now I want to focus on the performance, we did that today.

“We had to concentrate all game, it was a fatigue thing, the pressure they put on us. They had to take a few more risks so their shape slightly changed. But it’s two lapses and we’ve been beaten 2-1.

“It is what it is, but we’ve got to focus on the performance. We were close to getting three points, then one and then it slipped away. But like I said to the players, we’ve got to keep focusing on us and what we do.

“Something needs to be done now. And this is not me moaning, I said it half-time and when we were 1-0 up as well. The focus is on timewasting so the referees are dictating how we play. We set up from the back, then Spurs push forward and then that dictates how we play. But no, we’re just told to play long. You can’t do it.

“Wes (Foderingham) got a yellow card for handling outside the box and then got threatened with a sending off (for timewasting) you can’t do it. The officiating is appalling, and it’s not about the football decisions, it’s just game management.

“My worry is all the focus is on yellow cards for time wasting and when I talked to the referees they haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about. they’re officiating the game, they simply do not know the game.

“We need to sort that and sort that quick. It’s ruining the spectacle. And then to sum it all up we get Ollie McBurnie sent off for telling the referee someone is pulling his shirt. We’ve just seen someone lead with an elbow into our goalkeeper who needs stitches and that’s the same offence. What’s going on, seriously what’s going on with our game?”

This is what fans said with Paul Heckingbottom seeing his future at Sheffield United ‘under pressure’ and claims that Chris Wilder was ‘in attendance’ for the game against Tottenham…

@adz6786: Wilder will manage United again I’m sure. But now is not the right time, This is Heckys team and he deserves a shot at this season. He worked a miracle getting us promoted last season with the shit show behind the scenes #sufc

@samtheblade123: Genuinely will be worse sacking heckingbottom now that it was when wilder walked 2 years ago. Utter bafflement if true. #twitterblades #sufc

@Lanners1: I hope what the Mail are pedalling about Wilder is the same old bollocks and lies they normally come out with. Getting rid of Hecky would be a brain dead decision #sufc #twitterblades

@nathankelsall25: So seems like it’s true about wilder coming back he’s one of the best managers we have ever had in the club’s history i would welcome him back in open arms I feel sorry for hecky he’s done nothing wrong let’s see what happens UTB⚔️ #sufc

@Lanners1: The players always give everything, can’t be faulted. But as a football club there are times we’ve been absolutely stupid. And we seemingly continue to be absolutely stupid if rumours are true. #sufc #twitterblades

@Blades_Zone: Very unpopular opinion I know but if hecky was to go i would chose Wilder to come back. However, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever hecky should be sacked. Disgrace if it happens. #twitterblades #sufc

@TheBladesCorner: This has to be nonsense. He’s got his hands tied behind his back. No manager would’ve taken points from the first 2 games. We nearly got a point against City. An unbelievable save meant we didn’t beat Everton. With more depth we would’ve beaten Spurs… #twitterblades #sufc

@JoeBlade9: As much as I’ve called him a snake in the last. Bettis saying Hecky was safe no matter what happens this season, and I genuinely believe that. Fuck back door wilder, he’s been found out and was when he was with us. In hecky I trust #sufc #twitterblades

@Myers2409: I don’t know if the Chris Wilder story has any truth in it but the lack of respect towards him for the job he did here is astounding 🤷🏼‍♂️🔴⚪️⚔️

@FowlerReece: This ain’t a Chris wilder team… it’s a Paul heckingbottom team, heckys players, heckys style, if our defence wernt so incompetent we’d be on 6 points by now… the wins will come… Chris wilder is a legend always will be, but he choose to leave his sinking ship when we was fighting relegation 3 seasons ago… can’t just suddenly jump back on board

@bolly1307: Chris Wilder back at lane this season, now that’s something I didn’t think had a possibility 👀

@RichardDungwor2: If hecky gets boot after miracles he is pulling off its bollocks imo

@BunningRichard: I was devastated when wilder left, but Hecky doesn’t deserve to be sacked. He’s worked under huge financial pressure and got us back to the prem and United the club again. We’ve been in every game so far and should be 3/4 points better off, it’s such small margins in this league

@SteveSmith1978: If Hecky was sacked then I’d love to have Wilder back, but sacking Hecky would be a scandalous decision. He’s done an amazing job and deserves the opportunity to see out the season.

@GenXMiner: CW was great for us but his time has gone! PH is doing an amazing job, fans see the fight and improvement week in week out. Pretty sure no one in our club want to consider PH leaving right now!

@bwfc_elliot: I rate Paul heckingbottom more now than I did before this season. They always look a well drilled good side, just lacking quality to get results

@markybtree: Give over ffs. I’m an Owl but this is mental. The guys had nothing to spend. Cracking bloke.

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