Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom fears Manchester United’s ‘moments of genius’

The Blades host the Red Devils on Saturday evening.

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom fears Manchester United’s ‘moments of genius’
Fulham FC v Sheffield United - Premier League
Paul Heckingbottom is readying his team for a tough test on Saturday (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United may have struggled to hit top form so far this season, but Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom fears their ability to create moments of genius ahead of their meeting on Saturday at Bramall Lane.

The Blades have just one point from their opening eight Premier League games this season and will try and add to that measly tally when they host the Red Devils in the 8pm kick-off on Saturday.

Wins for Sheffield United in this fixture have been rare over recent decades, but the South Yorkshire side did pick up a win last time they faced the giants from the other side of the Pennines.

Chris Wilder was in charge in January 2021 when the Blades won 2-1 at Old Trafford and Heckingbottom would dearly love to pull off a result like that again this weekend.

Manchester United sit 10th in the Premier League, needing two stoppage time goals to beat Brentford last time out and climb to that position, so they have hardly hit their stride this campaign, but Heckingbottom is expecting a serious test on Saturday.

‘I don’t know how much anyone has seen of them they can be difficult to live with,’ said the former Barnsley manager of the Red Devils. ‘I have seen teams thinking they have got the better of them and then a moment of genius has won them the game.

‘We have to prepare for a long game, tough game they have so many players who in one moment can create an opportunity to score a goal.’

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Marcus Rashford has struggled this season but scored a superb goal for England against Italy on Tuesday night (Picture: Getty Images)

Not helping Heckingbottom’s cause this season is a string of injuries as the likes of Chris Basham, John Egan and Tom Davies are all out for the foreseeable future. However, Ben Osborn and George Baldock are pushing for returns this weekend.

‘George is getting closer. Ossie been back in doing a few days with us. One or two coming back, which is good,’ said the Blades boss.

‘It’s a nightmare in terms of the injuries. Because we were behind at the start of the season with signings I felt like we were starting to get there but it’s set us back again.

‘We have had moments before where it’s similar and it’s an opportunity for others and we have to use that and the boys getting those opportunities have to stay in the team. What’s hurting us is those boys with long-term injuries from last season.’

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