Heckingbottom highlights ‘fine margins’ after Sheff Utd loss to Arsenal

Paul Heckingbottom said he remains “hungry” despite Sheffield United edging closer to the drop after losing 3-0 to Arsenal.

The Blades could have their relegation confirmed imminently after falling 18 points behind with 21 left to play for. They have been resigned to their fate for some time but are still plugging away. However, as with many of their games this season, they were a level below their opponents.

Arsenal bettered Heckingbottom’s side in virtually every department and ultimately claimed a comfortable win. It was Sheff Utd’s fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

Caretaker manager Heckingbottom believed their latest defeat showed the “fine margins” that have put the club in the position they are in.

He said to BT Sport: “It shows how fine the margins are. I didn’t think we had enough control in the first half.

“But we conceded a really poor goal which took the game away from us. A key moment.

“I thought Arsenal played through our press well in the first half.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Seven more games and we won’t be given anything. The players know they are playing for everything.

“These are the moments that make you hungry as a football manager and I will make sure the players feel that way.”

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Arteta hails ‘efficient’ performance

For opposite number Mikel Arteta, it was a job well done ahead of a more important challenge in the Europa League on Thursday.

Arsenal contest the second leg of their quarter-final against Slavia Prague in midweek. This result proved to be the ideal preparation for the Gunners.

“I am really happy with the way we played,” Arteta told BT Sport. “We scored some really nice goals and controlled the game the way we wanted.

“We played at a high level. From the start I felt the boys were at it, we were efficient.

“We had good distances to play with each other and they understood the space.

“This is ideal preparation for Thursday.”