Sheffield United came within a whisker of promotion last season as they lost out to Nottingham Forest on penalties in the playoffs.
The Blades came so close to upsetting the odds as a late charge into the playoffs culminated in two breathless fixtures against the Reds. In the end, United couldn’t quite keep their cool in the shootout as Brice Samba denied Gibbs-White, Norwood, and Conor Hourihane.
Of course, it wasn’t just in the shootout where Samba frustrated United. It was the Forest keeper’s big save from and Iliman Ndiaye effort that kept the scored at 2-1 when it looked certain to bobble into the net. Samba got a stud to the ball as we all know, and the rest is history.
But that piece of history remains something Paul Heckingbottom wants to remember it seems, with a report from iNews documenting how the Blade boss keeps a stud inside a small clear case on his desk. The stud is there to represent the fine margins you need to win in football and how being in control of what you can is crucial to success.
Heckingbottom On Control And Luck
The interview with iNews is a must read for United fans. Heckingbottom is open and transparent in his views, and has some interesting takes on how he sees football.
In relation to the stud metaphor on his desk, Heckingbottom explains how vital it is to be in control of what you can, admitting everything else then comes down to an element of luck.
“When I was playing, I used to have a manager who would constantly say to us that it is better to be a lucky manager than a good one,” says Heckingbottom, enjoying a rare match-less midweek break in a relentless season. “Even when he messages me now, he always signs off with ‘Be lucky’,” Heckingbottom told iNews.
“Those moments can often define a match or a season and you aren’t in control of them. As long as you know everyone has given their best, you are happy. And if you have the right environment, you can eliminate risk. The more details you get right over time, you will win more of those marginal moments than you lose.”
Certainly, we’ve seen this season how luck can impact things. United have had a catastrophic injury list. Some will argue whether that is luck or planning, and there is probably an element of both in there.
Sheff U News View: Heckingbottom Loves The Details
This is one of the best interviews Heckingbottom has given. it’s a real insight into how he works, what he wants from the club, and how he sees his role at Sheffield United.
It’s clear he is a man who is meticulous in his planning and preparation. He wants the very best in everything and demands that from his players as well.
In terms of young managers right now in the game, United can be grateful they have one of the very best.