Sheffield United have no immediate plans to sack Paul Heckingbottom after the club suffered their heaviest league defeat when they were hammered 8-0 by Newcastle.
The Blades were put to the sword by a rampant Newcastle to go six games without a win on their Premier League return, but Heckingbottom’s job is currently safe.
There has been speculation linking former boss Chris Wilder to a Bramall Lane return, but even this embarrassing defeat will not change the board’s position.
When asked whether he will be the manager for the next game, Heckingbottom said: “Yes, 100 per cent.
“This might be a theme now by the looks of it. I can’t answer any of that, the game, the players, my department, yeah no problem, but things like that you are asking the wrong man.”
Heckingbottom, who guided the club to promotion last season, has overseen a difficult few days following the death of women’s player Maddy Cusack earlier in the week.
The midfielder, who also worked for the club’s marketing department, was just 27 and the club were left “devastated”.
And the boss admits he will be glad to see the back of a horrible week.
There were poignant pre-match tributes to Cusack and Heckingbottom said: “It has affected a lot of people, there were tears on the pitch before the game.
“But we were determined to end what has been a really tough week strongly and we weren’t able to do that. It has been a tough week for everyone at the club and one we want over.”
Howe: I never doubted us in the final third
The Magpies rewrote the history books, registering their biggest away win and also becoming the first Premier League side to have eight different players score in a game.
Eddie Howe’s side, who endured a difficult start to the season, now look like they are clicking and performed superbly on the back of their midweek Champions League trip to AC Milan.
They did not take their foot off the gas in the second half as they racked up the goals and that was the most pleasing thing for the boss.
Howe said: “It has been a great week for us. That is football for you.
“Before the Brentford game, we knew the importance of that game, a massive point in the week and great to see us back to our very best today.
“I never doubted us in the final third, we have got some outstanding players, and we have had a very tough start to the season in terms of fixtures, but today we were ruthless and kept looking to score, which is the key thing.
“We respect Sheffield United and Paul Heckingbottom and the job he has done here but we just had to do our thing and keep pushing and trying to score goals.
“We weren’t aware of anything during the game regarding the records. We were just trying to keep pushing the lads to keep scoring goals, having that mentality and desire that we want in every game.
“We want to attack well, we want to entertain and be good value when people come and watch us play. One of our fundamental beliefs is that we are always looking to score.
“With top-quality players, results like this can happen, but very rarely, that is why we will enjoy it tonight.
“You hope this ignites something in us and we try to repeat, not the scoreline, but the performance on a regular basis. That is our aim, but the Premier League is very difficult.”
Biggest Premier League wins
Manchester United 9 Ipswich 0, March 1995
Andrew Cole led the way with five goals, with Mark Hughes (two), Paul Ince and Roy Keane also netting for United against an Ipswich team who finished bottom at the end of the season.
Southampton 0 Leicester 9, October 2019
After Leicester took an early lead through Ben Chilwell and Southampton had Ryan Bertrand sent off moments later, the Foxes then added four more goals in the first half through Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Perez (two) and Jamie Vardy. Perez and Vardy then each completed their hat-tricks after the break, the latter’s third coming via a penalty, and there was also a goal for James Maddison.
Manchester United 9 Southampton 0, February 2021
The Saints were hit for nine again the following season after once more having a man sent off early on. Following Alexandre Jankewitz’s second-minute dismissal, United scored via Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, an own-goal by Jan Bednarek, who was also red-carded late on, Edinson Cavani, an Anthony Martial brace, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes’ penalty and Dan James.
Liverpool 9 Bournemouth 0, August 2022
What proved Scott Parker’s final match as Bournemouth manager saw Luis Diaz and Roberto Firmino notch two goals apiece. Harvey Elliott, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Fabio Carvalho also got on the scoresheet, while Chris Mepham netted an own goal.
Tottenham 9 Wigan 1, November 2009
Striker Jermain Defoe scored five times and Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch, David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar also found the target, with Paul Scharner replying.
Sheffield United have no immediate plans to dismiss their manager, but Heckingbottom looked on wide-eyed and white as a sheet as his side lost 8-0 at home to Newcastle. It was noticeable that, by the end, it was his assistant Stuart McCall who had come forward to bark at his crestfallen players.
A lady with a red and white scarf wrapped around her shoulders was spotted reading the book she had brought with her to Bramall Lane. It was just as well she had remembered to pack it. The clock showed 15 minutes of normal time remaining, and few could blame her.
Never before in the club’s history had Sheffield United conceded eight goals on their own patch. Not since 1956 when Rotherham scored seven had it been this bad, and then Alexander Isak made it worse.
Jamie Redknapp said: “I have so much sympathy for the manager. He has to stand at the sideline and give his all. That is a dark place for any manager. He will be so low right now.
“You should never lose a game 8-0. They’ve been in every game of this Premier League season. There was a lack of quality but also at times, which is quite damning, there was a lack of effort. You can’t do that.”
Jamie Carragher called the defending “horrific” on a “devastating night” for the club. Somehow, they must find the steel this city is renowned for to pick themselves up from the canvas.
Gordon helps Newcastle get back to their old selves
This had the hallmarks of an awkward afternoon for Newcastle following a trip to Milan, but what followed was extraordinary. It was a performance which had everything, from Anthony Gordon’s response from being named as a substitute, to goals from defence right through to the attack. Eight goals from eight different goalscorers.
Carragher said: “It’s been a really big week for Newcastle. It feels like they’re back to their old selves and certainly the one we saw a lot of last season.
“You look at the scoreline but the big thing is psychologically winning the game so comfortably and emphatically after your first Champions League trip away from home, it’s big for Newcastle.”
There is no doubt this game was in the balance before Harvey Barnes was replaced by Gordon after just 12 minutes. It was not that Barnes had been ineffectual, but that the hosts had made a confident start.
Gordon immediately injected urgency in Howe’s side, was involved in Sean Longstaff’s opener and deservedly added to the scoreline around the hour-mark. His overall performance underlined the impression this is a player who has now settled at St James’ Park and is benefitting from Howe’s coaching.
Sheffield United visit West Ham in the Premier League next Saturday at 3pm.
Newcastle host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, kick off 8pm. The Magpies are then back in Premier League action at home to Burnley next Saturday at 3pm.
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