Sheffield United's Paul Heckingbottom says 'unforgiving' pressure part of management's appeal
The pressure on the Sheffield United manager eased just a fraction at the weekend when the Blades became the last team to record a victory in this season's Premier League with a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In the run-up to the game the bookmakers had been split as to whether he or Manchetser United's Erik ten Hag was the most likely to be first to the next Premier League manager to leave their job.
But with his team still bottom, speculation will soon stir up again after a few more bad results.
Heckingbottom, who was sacked by Hibernian and Leeds United in his last two jobs – he left first club Barnsley of his own choice to move to Elland Road – not only accepts it comes with the job, but says he likes the pressure it brings.
“Speculation around managers’ jobs is part and parcel of the role,” he told William Hill. “I saw a stat the other day where I was one of the longest serving managers across the 92 clubs in the (English) football leagues (he is 19th on the list topped by Harrogate Town's Simon Weaver) which is a bit scary considering I’ve only been at Sheffield United for two years!
"It is the nature of the job now and I think if you’re worried about that kind of thing then you don’t go into it.
“It’s tough and it’s unforgiving but that is probably one of the reasons why we like it as well. It’s the ultimate accountability and every decision you make is scrutinised and everything you do is under the microscope, but when you’re not doing it you miss it.”
“We’ve found the Premier league tough so far, and even from when I last experienced it two years ago (as the Blades' caretaker manager) it has come on,” said Heckingbottom. “Everyone knows how big the Premier League is around the world but the standard and the quality of the players and the teams has gone up another level.
"I thought the game had been unfairly taken away from us but scoring the winner with the last kick of the game is the best way to do it."