Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom left 'fuming' with his side despite 4-1 win over Preston North End

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Sheffield United head coach Paul Heckingbottom was left ‘fuming’ with his side as they went on to record a dominant 4-1 win over Preston North End on Saturday.

Anel Ahmedhodžić got the scoring underway in the first half, his header from an outswinging corner going in off the inside of Freddie Woodman’s post to give already promoted United the lead.

North End got themselves back on level terms in the second half after a sub and change of shape during the interval. Liam Delap came off the bench to play as one of three up top, getting on the end of a fine Brad Potts cross to tap home from close range, his first goal in a Preston shirt.

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The parity didn’t last long however and John Fleck burst forward onto a Daniel Jebbison backheel to put the home side back ahead, despite the best efforts of Andrew Hughes who only deflected the ball beyond Woodman.

Sheffield United manager Paul HeckingbottomSheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom

Just a matter of minutes later, Iliman Ndiaye made it three as he turned home another Jebbison assist to truly take the game away from Ryan Lowe’s men. In the fifth minute of added time, Oli McBurnie made it four with a volley from close range.

The Blades were entitled to be in party mode for the game – they had spent the whole week celebrating and barely trained in preparation for the North End game, but they were too good on the day.

Heckingbottom admitted that he was angry with the way his side were performing during parts of the game and was fighting hard to prevent complacency, as their place in the Premier League was already sealed.

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He said: “That was my worry and my concern. And it's not the same edge, without a doubt. Even for myself, I was trying to guard against it feeling like a pre-season game. But we played well in the first half and missed chances to put the game to bed and for 10 minutes I was fuming. So that probably shows a little bit of what we're about. From there we were strong, brought a bit more energy in, and we got the victory we deserved.

It has to become what we're about. We've got a few people who are well skilled in that because they've had a few promotions and some of the younger boys are learning from them. You've got to enjoy it. We've had 27 celebrations, it just so happened that the 26th one was a bigger one.”

Heckingbottom praised the impact of Jebbison off the bench, coming on to tee up two of the four goals. Goalscorers Fleck and McBurnie also started the game amongst the replacements, the trio having a hand in three of the four goals on the day.

On Jebbison, Heckingbottom said: “He ended up changing the game with his pace and energy. The ceiling for him is really high and this season has been a good one for him because he's shown a lot more maturity and he's had a lot more challenges as well. I won't give minutes away regardless of how highly I rate him. He's had to earn his way into the team, he did that and did really well.”