Burnley-Sheffield United Preview
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Sheffield United's interim boss Paul Heckingbottom believes Burnley provide the ideal template for the Blades to follow, ahead of Sunday's final Premier League game of the season.
After two seasons back in the top flight, United are heading back to the Championship, with a new manager also needed following Chris Wilder's departure.
Heckingbottom has overseen just two wins, but will have fans back in at Bramall Lane for Sunday's meeting with the Clarets, who he believes have shown the Blades how to return to the Premier League after a relegation, and then go on to establish themselves.
"Yes 100 per cent they do," said Heckingbottom. "If you are talking playing-wise and the squad, yes the evidence is there - teams who come up generally struggle but next season you can build on that and be stronger.
"Nobody wanted this to happen but we've had two seasons in the Premier League and we have to make the most of that.
"Burnley have a clear identity and clear way of playing and are now a well-established Premier League team and have started building their infrastructure and squad and have a fantastic new training facility that will be there forever.
"We should be in a stronger position now than the season when we went up. We need to keep building on and off the pitch and you can be exactly like Burnley and established in the Premier league."
Sean Dyche, meanwhile, has been linked with taking up the Crystal Palace job, which has been vacated by Roy Hodgson.
"Unless I'm told by the powers that be, I'm not planning on that at the moment," he said.
"I've been asked that many times over my time here, probably since our first promotion I've been linked with other places and I'm still here."
Sheffield United - Rhian Brewster
It has been a dreadful first season at Bramall Lane for Rhian Brewster. The big-money signing from Liverpool has failed to score a single goal, but with the support of fans, will be hoping to finally break his duck to give him hope for next term.
Burnley - Nick Pope
Nick Pope has missed the last few games through injury and will face a late fitness test to play on Sunday. Burnley have lost all five Premier League matches without Pope this season, conceding 17 goals at an average of 3.4 per game. In their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool, goalkeeper Will Norris conceded three times without making a single save, the first time a goalkeeper had done so on his first start in the competition since Jak Alnwick in December 2014.
- No Sheffield United player has more than two Premier League assists this season (John Lundstram, John Fleck and George Baldock all on two) - in the history of the Premier League, only one team has gone through a season without a player reaching at least 3+ assists, with Charlton Athletic in 1998-99 having five players on a high of two (Mark Kinsella, Steve Jones, Danny Mills, Richard Rufus & Eddie Youds).
- The Blades have scored just 19 Premier League goals this season and could become the first ever top-flight team to fail to score at least 20 goals in a full season. In Football League history, the only team to go through an entire season and not score 20 goals was Loughborough in the second tier in 1899-1900, who won only one of their 34 games and scored just 18 times.
- Burnley have lost their final league game in each of their last four campaigns. Their last win was at Charlton in the 2015-16 Championship (3-0), which was the last time they finished a league campaign away from home.
- This is the 56th different league campaign in which Sheffield United and Burnley have faced each other - the Clarets are aiming to complete the double over the Blades for just the third time, previously doing so in 1921-22 and 2008-09.
- United have lost 29 Premier League matches this season, a joint record in the competition. Only three top-flight sides have ever lost 30 in a season: Leeds United in 1946-47 (30), Blackburn Rovers in 1965-66 (30) and Stoke City in 1984-85 (31), all in 42-game seasons. The Blades could be the first team in the history of the Football League to lose 30 league games in a season with fewer than 40 matches.
Updated May 21, 2021