Does Sheffield United's Premier League game at West Ham carry added importance after Sunday's historic low versus Newcastle? Paul Heckingbottom has his say
The Blades were the talk of domestic football for all the wrong reasons when they slumped to a pitiful and embarrassing 8-0 home defeat to Newcastle United, a club-record league defeat for the South Yorkshire outfit.
It compounded an arduous start to the campaign for Heckingbottom's side, who have taken just a solitary point from their opening six matches and prop up the Premier League table on goal difference.
The margin of the loss has put Heckingbottom and his players under much scrutiny ahead of their trip to the capital, but the Blades chief insists that the game has nothing additional riding upon it.
Heckingbottom, who welcomes back Oli McBurnie to his squad after suspension, said: "None more so in terms of the others, we need to make sure we respond to that performance which we weren't happy with, that's the most important thing.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We could have in the other games where we have not come away with more points, but we don't.
"No-one is going to feel sorry for us and allow us to think we have had a bit of a rough time."
Alongside the margin of defeat, United's players were criticised by some for a perceived lack of effort in the second half of Sunday's calamitous episode.
Heckingbottom disputed any such notions and while he firmly believes that the result and performance was a 'one-off', the last thing he will be doing is glossing over it.
The former Leeds United and Barnsley manager continued "It was a one-off and as long as it’s a one-off, then that’s fine.
"If you look at the running stats, it will be exactly the same (as other previous games).
"But in terms of performing as a team and doing your job and not allowing Newcastle to run off the back of you; our running was chasing rather than really affecting them and keeping them in front of us.
"There was a lot of work there, but too much work because of how poorly we performed."
"As much as we want it to be a one-off, we can't just ignore the performance and make sure people understand what they need to do to improve or get in the team."
Heckingbottom has revealed that he spoke with Blades owner Prince Abdullah and chief executive officer Stephen Bettis after Sunday's events and said that the tone of discussions was supportive.
The 46-year-old added: "Prince Abdullah was on the phone to me straight after the game, we speak regularly.
"That's not an issue. The support's there. I spoke with Stephen as well.
"That's not my concern, that's not my job. My job is this building and the unity within it.
"We understand we have to be better, we are all in agreement on that. We have to be one of the teams who've suffered these defeats before and used it to achieve our goal, which is to stay in this league."