NEW Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom began his reign with a defeat at Sheffield United but vowed to get his players to perform with more freedom.

Billy Sharp scored twice against his former club, either side of Pierre-Michel Lasogga's header early in the second half, as the Blades edged the Yorkshire derby 2-1.

Sharp opened the scoring in the second minute with a superbly-struck volley and wrapped up victory from the penalty spot with 17 minutes left.

Heckingbottom, who was taking charge for the first time since leaving Barnsley for Elland Road, said: "Getting beaten is not nice and I know when I look back at the first goal that there will be things I don't want to see.

"Sheffield United are, in my opinion, the best in the league at building momentum. They were keeping possession, playing forward and putting us under pressure.

"We had to change that and play forward more. We played on the front foot in the second half and we had more energy.

"Kemar Roofe got a knee in the head and had a tooth knocked out, so Pablo Hernandez came on. We know what Pablo can do and he got us back in the game.

"There was a bit of apprehension – I could sense it – and I thought that lifted in the second half. I want them to have more freedom because the last thing we want is for anyone playing within themselves."

Blades manager Chris Wilder felt his side's promotion bid was back on track after responding to successive Championship defeats with this victory.

Wilder, whose side failed to score in back-to-back defeats against Aston Villa and Wolves, said: "We needed it.

"I'm sick of banging on about how well we're playing and not getting results. People are looking at me as if I'm a bit of a nutter, going on about it.

"We were close against Villa but we didn't deserve anything against Wolves.

"We're at the business end of the season and we need to pick wins up. We've got one and we're off and running."

Wilder was pleased with how his side performed – and reserved special praise for Sharp, who was making his first league appearance of 2018.

"The effect of having a new manager would have given their (Leeds) players a boost," said Wilder.

"It was never going to be easy and the game ebbed and flowed. I thought we were more dangerous at the top of the pitch than they were.

"I've got a great group of players who are all desperate to play. 'Duff' (Mark Duffy) and Billy (Sharp) both had really good weeks. Billy's attitude has been absolutely outstanding while he's not been playing."