Paul Heckingbottom pleased with Sheffield United's new look but angry at pitch invaders

Manager Paul Heckingbottom praised Sheffield United for adapting to a different way of playing which allowed him to take encouragement from defeat at home to Manchester United.

Fittingly on a day football lost one of its great romantics, the Blades played much more positively than when Manchester's other Premier League club visited in August, helped by a formation change to 4-4-2.

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In theory they had a fortnight to prepare, but an international break made for a different reality.

"With players away you can only do it for the last week, last day," said Heckingbottom.

"We did a lot early in the week with the back four but it was more how we could get the ball to Macca (James McAtee), what that would like, how we would build, how we would play to the front. It was only Thursday we started doing that without the ball.

"All the boys have played in back fours before, it's just learning how we want to do it. It was more the six ahead of the back four and I thought they performed with good discipline.

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"One point from nine's not good enough but ours is not a league against Manchester United, it's against the rest of the bottom six."

PLUS POINTS:  Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield UnitedPLUS POINTS:  Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United
PLUS POINTS: Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United

The game had a stoppage-time pitch invader and more after the final whistle. Heckingbottom’s then-captain Billy Sharp was assaulted after a 2022 play-off semi-final at Nottingham Forest.

"It concerns me because we're at work and I don't want our fans to be part of that,” he said.

"It looked like the majority after were Manchester United fans after selfies with them but it's not always going to be that. It shouldn't be that easy."