'Leeds United were making subs to try and live with us' - Paul Heckingbottom's frustration after Sheffield United defeat
Paul Heckingbottom felt his Sheffield United side were getting on top of former club Leeds United in the second half of their 2-1 defeat, but sloppy play robbed them of momentum.
The ex Whites head coach, in temporary charge of the Blades since Chris Wilder's departure, felt the visitors failed to take advantage of their chances at Elland Road.
Leeds were dominant in the first half, taking the lead through Jack Harrison, but the sides went in level thanks to Ben Osborn's goal in stoppage time.
In the second half Leeds took the lead when Phil Jagielka put through his own net and Marcelo Bielsa's men had numerous chances to kill the game on the counter attack but failed to do so, allowing the Blades to stay in it to the end.
There were a couple of shots that whistled wide of Leeds' goal but Illan Meslier was largely untroubled.
"There were moments we were very good, we didn't capitalise on opportunities," said Heckingbottom.
"Those little moments when we were cheap in possession were the difference today. It gave Leeds their best opportunities which were on the counter.
"It was frustrating, of course it was. You're not going to get better in possession by shying away from it, so we're going to take the ball. Some bits were good, some bits we were sloppy in key areas. In the second half in particular and won it back in our defensive third we gave it away too cheaply in a couple of passes. We didn't have the quality of delivery for set-plays, which set up a lot of counters for Leeds. Those are areas we could have, should have been better."
Heckingbottom was disappointed that the second half didn't go a different way when the Blades had spells of possession in Leeds territory.
"The frustrating thing is, when I felt we were getting on top in the second half and Leeds were making subs to try and live with us, we weren't able to get our foot on the throat of Leeds, we tended to let that momentum go which allowed Leeds to counter and we had to start again," he said.
Heckingbottom lost George Baldock to a suspected concussion after the defender appeared to catch Tyler Roberts with two feet, initiating a collision and banging his head on the turf. Baldock stayed down for almost five minutes, giving VAR official Jarred Gillett time to check it over, but no action was taken. The Blade was checked over by medical staff and then allowed to play, before feeling unwell and struggling with his vision according to Heckingbottom, who replaced him.
When asked if he was happy with the challenge he replied: "Yeah, from where I was stood." He went on to explain that Roberts' knee had followed through and caught Baldock in the face.