Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom hurt by manner of 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth

Losing to a Premier League relegation rival was one thing, but it was the manner of Sheffield United's performance in their 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth which most hurt manager Paul Heckingbottom.

"If we give goals away like that we're not going to win games in this league, we know that," said Heckingbottom.

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"We started poorly from our point of view and it put us on the back foot and we never really recovered.

"We gave the second goal away before we could make changes at half-time and the nature of the third goal... we're not going to win.

"But we can't hide behind mistakes. We know we need to play better than that, we've got to get it out of our heads before the next game because that's below the standards we've set for ourselves and which we've played to for the majority of this season.

"We know we need to better than that next week at Burnley.

"We kept giving them the ball back. We need to be better.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Sheffield United manager Paul HeckingbottomDISAPPOINTMENT: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom
DISAPPOINTMENT: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom

"Bournemouth are one of the most athletic teams in this league, you could see that with how they break and how they recruited. Now they try and play a style which suits that.

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"The problem is when we're 2-0 behind at half-time and 3-0 quickly after we're playing into their hands.

"It was a difficult afternoon in that respect but we just need to make sure we get this out of our heads before the next game and be better.

"For us to get results we need virtually every player to be at their best and to have some big moments. Today we didn't, we had too many who dropped below our standards.

"There were moments where we might have had quick combinations and either get in or have a good tackle and the game becomes end to end. We wanted the game like that. But it quickly fizzled out into that slow, quieter game.

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"That's the bit I'm focusing on because once the game's the 3-0 the pattern of the game is different again.

"We needed to start better and be more on the front foot to get control of the game."

Having allowed Bournemouth to play the ball around them so Marcus Tavernier could open the scoring in the 12th minute, the Blades were fortunate to go into first-half stoppage time only 1-0 down.

But Wes Foderinghham came out of his area, stumbled over the ball and presented Justin Kluivert with the chance to double the lead. Both managers accepted that was a pivotal moment.

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"They'd just missed a chance when Tavernier put one over the bar and we knew the changes were going to be and it changes the dynamic," said Heckingbottom.

"If I'm honest, I still felt we were in the game with the changes we were going to make and we started the second half on the front foot but the third goal probably summed up our day."

Sheffield United were booed off at the end of each half, and with good reason.

"You're going to get that," said Heckingbottom. "If we perform to our best and get beaten, sometimes you have to hold your hands up. However I feel like today we gave Bournemouth a helping hand.

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"It's the level of performance we need to be better, whether we start slow or fast. You could argue the last two games we've not started well and we've got good results. There's been other games we have started well and we've been beaten.

"We just strive to be better all the time.

"We started slowly and went one down, which we deserved to be, but to give them the next two goals was really poor. It just takes the game away from us."