Heckingbottom: West Brom gave away tactical secrets on social media
Written by Training Ground Guru — November 1, 2022
SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that he was “pretty sure” how West Brom would set up on Saturday after they “put a bit too much on their social media channels for us to see.”
The promotion-chasing Blades won the match at the Hawthorns 2-0 thanks to early goals from Iliman Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie. Earlier in the week Heckingbottom had admitted he was unsure how West Brom would play because new Head Coach Carlos Corberan had been appointed just days earlier.
However, a trawl of the Baggies’ social media posts helped significantly.
“I know we spoke in midweek about not knowing what the set-up would be like, but West Brom maybe put a bit too much out on their social media channels for us to see,” the 44-year-old said. "We were pretty sure what the set-up would be like.”
Heckingbottom didn’t expand on exactly which social media he was referring to, but West Brom had posted a photo of Corberan holding a sheet of paper with a tactical diagram on it (above) and also video footage of the Spaniard's first training session at the club.
Ahead of his side’s Championship game at Bristol City tonight, Heckingbottom expanded on how Sheffield United monitor social media to get tactical and selection clues about opponents. He revealed that a member of his staff was routinely assigned to do this job.
“You have to look at it (social media) because there’s so much stuff that gets put on there and a lot of it is more instructive than people sometimes realise,” he told The Sheffield Star.
“We put a lot of time into it. There might be something seemingly insignificant which goes out, something visual or something that’s said, and it can tell you a lot if you know what you’re looking for.
“There’s someone here who does all of that, looking at stuff and finding things out through it, beforehand. If you want to win, if you enjoy what you do, then look at social media. There’s so much information out there and a lot of it is rubbish but if you can find the relevant stuff then it can be really useful.
“The social media accounts, I won’t tell you who it was exactly, but last season we found out through one that a really important player wouldn’t be playing for their team against us.
“It wasn’t through anything they put up. But their wife let slip they’d all gone away on holiday and so we knew he wouldn’t be involved against us.”
And, conversely, the Blades sometimes put posts out that will deliberately confuse their opponents.
“We tend to do the opposite - we can do things that are misleading or cause a bit of confusion,” Heckingbottom admitted.