Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom thinks Nottingham Forest will be ‘gutted’ despite winning 2-1 at Bramall Lane.
The Blades went behind early on when Jack Colback finished at the back post, after a great save from Wes Foderingham to keep Philip Zinckernagel out. Steve Cooper’s side also benefitted from Ben Osborn slipping at a crucial moment in the build up to the goal.
Sheffield United almost equalised in the 18th minute when John Egan headed at goal from a corner, only for Sam Surridge to clear off the line.
Forest then created a host of chances but couldn’t double their lead before the break as Foderingham denied Surridge and Ryan Yates glanced wide.
Foderingham then pulled off a brilliant double stop to keep Surridge out, and then Johnson on the follow up.
United improved in the second half, only to be pegged back by a Brennan Johnson strike in the 71st minute. John Egan was caught in possession by substitute Joe Lolley. John Fleck did well to block a shot from the Forest man, but Johnson was on hand to score afterwards.
United got a massive goal in stoppage time when Jack Robinson headed a corner into an open net, with Forest keeper Brice Samba in no man’s land.
That late goal beautifully set up the return leg at the City Ground on Tuesday evening.
Heckingbottom was positive in his post-match interview with Sky Sports and claimed Forest stars will be ‘gutted’ that the Blades still have a chance.
Fighting talk from Paul Heckingbottom
When asked if Robinson’s goal changes the tie, Heckingbottom replied: “It does, totally. Their players are coming off gutted and ours are coming off with a better chance.
“We’ve been behind before and come back and won, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
On Egan’s mistake in the build up to Forest’s second goal, the manager said: “It happens. We said we need the fine margins, today that’s gone against us.
“It’s gutting, but he showed spirit. We went to the very end and I think that goal is pivotal.”
Heckingbottom continued: “The problem is, we know they’d be countering, they’ve got good players on the counter. We weren’t good enough [dealing] with that, even though we prepared for it.”
When asked what the plan will be for the return leg on Tuesday, Heckingbottom added: “It’s a totally different atmosphere at the City Ground to ours. They can be much more comfortable sitting and playing on the counter.
“At the City Ground, Forest will be edgy – they’ll be nervous. So we know that adds a different complexion. We know we need to put in a good performance.”