Sheffield United: The unusual trick which helped inspire memorable win over Nottingham Forest is revealed

Paul Peschisolido has revealed how Sheffield United even used the timing of their substitutes’ warm-ups as a tactical ploy during the 2003 play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 5:00 pm

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Speaking as the two club’s prepare to meet again in the end of season knockouts, with the first leg of their Championship double-header taking place at Bramall Lane on Saturday, the Canadian explained one of former manager Neil Warnock’s favourite tricks whenever he feared a match was slipping away.

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Peschisolido, whose memorable goal against the visitors from the City Ground proved crucial 19 years ago as United came from 3-1 down on aggregate at one stage to reach the showpiece in Cardiff, told The Star: “Neil used to send me out for a run deliberately at times when I was on the bench, even though I might only just have finished going up and down the touchline.

“Because I’d been involved in a fair few comebacks, he knew it would get the ground going if we were behind or needed something to change. It always created a bit of a buzz and he knew that. It changed the atmosphere a bit and, the more you think about it, you realise how clever that was. Not much got past him and we’d use every trick in the book back then to try and gain an advantage. That’s what you need to do. No detail, nothing, is too small to count.”

The template for success

Paul Peschisolido celebrates his goal against Nottingham Forest in 2003

Although United had to wait another three years before gaining promotion, being beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers inside the Millennium Stadium, Peschisolido is convinced Paul Heckingbottom’s squad can use events nearly two decades ago as the template for another success over Forest.

Steve Cooper’s men, who host the return on Tuesday, finished one place and five points above United in the final table and earlier this month were being tipped to pip AFC Bournemouth to second. They eventually came fourth, after losing their penultimate match of the campaign at the Vitality Stadium and then drawing with Hull City.

United enter this weekend’s fixture on the back of three straight victories, thrashing title-winners Fulham 4-0 during the final round of games.

“Everything we did, from the top down, it was all in back then,” Peschisolido said. “We were 100 percent committed and had real belief in ourselves.”

Neil Warnock, the former Sheffield United manager, used warm-ups as a weapon
Paul Heckingbottom (left) is preparing Sheffield United for another play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest: Simon Bellis / Sportimage