Paul Heckingbottom believed Sheffield United put in their best defensive performance for a long time in their win over Everton.
It has been a tricky season for the Blades but some positivity came towards the end with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park. It was their first clean sheet since March and first away win since January. They earned the result as well to ensure they will be going down on some kind of brighter note.
Interim boss Heckingbottom was delighted with their performance.
He said: “Delighted, we were good form start to finish and worthy of three points. We had good chances, not a lot of chances but some good ones and we defended really well.
“Aaron Ramsdale made a couple of good saves first half but second half we protected him well.
“We’ve had other good performances and been undone with quality at the other end but today we were good, probably the best defensive display that I’ve seen for a long time.”
The match winner was 17-year-old Daniel Jebbison, who became the youngest ever player to score on his first Premier League start.
It was a dream moment for the teenager and Heckingbottom was happy for him.
“Early goal on his debut and it’s about where he scored his goal as well. They’re the best ones, credit to him.
“He deserved it, worked hard and did his job without the ball as well. We carried no one today.”
Heckingbottom insisted that United deserve to be on a higher points tally than they are. Thus, he thought this was the reward they have been deserving of.
He added: “It’s a reward. It’s difficult, all season we have put in performances worthy of points and not got them. We’ve had good games that haven’t gone our way.
“It’s a good reward when you think you’ve been playing well but not getting points on the board.
Heckingbottom addresses future and fans return
On a shortlist of potential permanent successors to Chris Wilder, Heckingbottom did his case no harm. TEAMtalk understands that Slavisa Jokanovic is the leading candidate for the full-time role, but Heckingbottom could still be in contention.
He refused to be drawn on his future, though.
“I’ve been given this role between now and the end of the season, nothing has changed for me. I’m more than happy to keep doing that. We’ve all got a part to play and this is my part.”
Whatever happens in the summer, he will be hoping to oversee a fond farewell to the Premier League. The Blades have sorely missed their fans this season, but around 5,000 will be back for their season finale against Burnley.
Heckingbottom will be glad to see them.
“We can’t wait. Fans will be delighted to be back, players will be delighted to be playing in front of them – only have to look at the FA Cup final to see how much it means – regardless of how many is in.”