Paul Heckingbottom’s pride as Sheffield United force the issue in win over Millwall

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom was pleased with the way his side performed with and without the ball during their 2-0 victory against Millwall at Bramall Lane.

Goals from Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge before the break sealed a first win of the season for Heckingbottom’s men, who also missed a penalty in the first half.

Heckingbottom said: “Really pleased, obviously a win, a clean sheet. A good performance with and without the ball so yeah, really pleased with that.

“The start was good, but I think the bit that was really, really pleasing was how we dealt with their threats.

Daniel Jebbison of Sheffield Utd tackled by Murray Wallace of Millwall (Picture:: Simon Bellis / Sportimage)

“I expect us to perform well here and be the one forcing the issue. I know we are not going to win every game, but I expect us to put in a performance to reflect – that’s our intent.

“It’s a new season, we’re going to be on the front foot and try and play that sort of way in every game.

Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t but as long as it’s not from a lack of effort, then I’m fine with that.”

Heckingbottom was also delighted with the performance of Norway midfielder Berge, saying: “I love performances like that, it backs up what I say. At times today he was playing a different game, I thought he was good.”

Sander Berge, right, celebrates with his Sheffield United team-mates (Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage)

The result sees the Blades bounce back from their opening-day loss to Watford, while Millwall tasted defeat for the first time this campaign.

Norwood tried his luck with a speculative effort from the halfway line early in the game as United sought to take control, but his attempt floated over the crossbar.

However, the hosts were ahead soon after as Ndiaye gave them a seventh-minute lead. Wes Foderingham’s long ball was missed by two Millwall defenders, sending Ndiaye through on goal and he slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

United dominated the opening 15 minutes, moving the ball around well and not allowing Millwall to get forward.

Paul Heckingbottom manager of Sheffield Utd applauds his fans during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane (Picture: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage)

The Blades’ new signing Anel Ahmedhodzic had a chance to make it 2-0 after he received the ball on the right-hand side, but his attempt was dealt with by Bartosz Bialkowski in the Millwall goal.

A second United goal was not long in coming though, with Berge doubled their lead in the 22nd minute.

During a quick counter-attack, John Fleck threaded the ball across to Berge who rounded the keeper and slotted home. Fleck had a chance of his own when the ball arrived to him quickly in the box, but he could not set himself and his shot went over the bar.

The Blades had the opportunity to make it 3-0 in the 43rd minute when Rhian Brewster was brought down in the box by Jake Cooper. However, Norwood saw his penalty saved by Bialkowski, with the keeper guessing correctly as dived down to his right.

That saw the score remain 2-0 at half-time, with the Blades looking much the better team and Millwall failing to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

The Blades resumed their attack on the Millwall goal in the second half and Ahmedhodzic tried his luck from the edge of the area only to see his shot curl wide of the post.

Millwall responded and Murray Wallace had a headed attempt on goal, following a corner, however it was an easy catch for Foderingham. Wallace had another attempt following a set-piece when he attacked the ball at the back post, but his volley went over the crossbar.

Millwall continued to push for a lifeline and George Saville found himself in space just inside the box when the ball fell to him on the volley. He did not connect well with the ball, though, and also missed the target.

Ciaran Clark dragged a first-time shot wide of the post just inside the box for the Blades as the home side looked to kill off any lingering Millwall hopes.

An altercation between Rhys Norrington-Davies and Wallace had to be cooled down by the referee in stoppage time, with both players receiving yellow cards.

Sheff Utd: Foderingham, Ahmedhodzic, Egan, Clark, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck (Osborn 72), Norrington-Davies, Berge, Ndiaye (Jebbison 67), Brewster (Sharp 67). Unused substitutes: McAtee, Khadra, Lowe, Amissah.

Millwall: Bialkowski, Cresswell, Cooper, Wallace, McNamara, Mitchell, Shackleton, Malone, Saville (Burey 81), Bennett (Olaofe 80), Afobe. Unused substitutes: Long, Hutchinson, Evans, Muller, Topalloj.

Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).