Andy Liddle says Sheffield United should relish their underdog status during today’s FA Cup third round tie at Aston Villa, writes James Shield.
And the former Scotland under-21 international, who scored twice when United beat the Premier League club at the same stage of the competition nine years ago, last night predicted Nigel Clough’s side can repeat that feat if they adopt a positive approach.
Liddle told The Star: “It’s one of the few times this season when United won’t be viewed as a massive scalp by the team they’re playing. They’ve got to work that to their advantage.
“The attitude we went into our game with Villa was ‘what the hell, everyone expects us to get beat.’ So we just went for it right from the very start.
“Even when we fell behind we just thought ‘well, the chances are they were going to score anyway.’ We just brushed ourselves down and carried on in the same frame of mind.
“That’s why underdogs can be so dangerous. Providing they’re in the right frame of mind.”
“You name me one side in League One who won’t view coming up against United or Wolves as their ‘Wembley’ game,” he added. “Managers won’t need to give a team talk for those fixtures and everyone playing against them will be raising their games. Trust me, it does happen.
“But United can have a rest from all of that in this one. They can go out there and enjoy themselves but, in football, enjoyment really does depend on the result.”
Liddle, now a fitness coach at Ipswich Town, wrote his name into Bramall Lane’s history books by pouncing twice towards the end of 2005’s contest after Danny Cullip had cancelled-out Gareth Barry’s opener for the visitors.
“Villa are at home in this match and they’re going to be the ones under pressure,” Liddle added. “United will be trying to exploit that.
“If they (Villa) decide to rest some players then that might increase the chance of an upset. But, when you play a top-flight team, you always know you’ve got to perform to your maximum and hope they have a bit of an off day.”