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Pesch talks to UTB

19 October 2019

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Ahead of Monday's clash with Arsenal, UTB, United's official matchday programme, caught up with popular former striker Paul Peschisolido to discuss 'that' FA Cup semi-final against the Gunners amongst other things.

'Pesch', of course, came within a whisker of levelling the semi-final at Old Trafford but for an unbelievable save from David Seaman, as the Gunners eventually prevailed against the then second-tier Blades.

Whilst Paul talks us through the pulsating tie, he also reflects on his time at Bramall Lane as a whole, in a wide-ranging interview which you can read in full in Monday's programme.

But here's a taster of what the Canadian international had to say, with what we couldn't fit into the article, as 'Pesch' first reflects on his arrival at the Lane, and meeting then manager Neil Warnock.

"He made me feel a million dollars," said the ex-Birmingham, Stoke, West Brom and Fulham striker on Warnock.

"He had a way of making you feel on top of the world, and I just wanted to be a part of that. It was an easy decision on my part.

"What's the point picking up a pay cheque every week, and being somewhere you hate? There's no point. I was a footballer, and as far as I was concerned, I should be playing to justify being paid. That's why I wanted to come to Sheffield United."

Under Warnock, Paul was constantly in competition for a starting berth, with the Blades manager creating a reputation of having his attacking department well stocked with options at all times.

This didn't bother 'Pesch' though, who admits the convey-a-belt of strikers was a motivational tool to ensure he was hitting the mark, week in, week out, as he looked to stay in the manager's long-term plans.

He added: "It keeps you on your toes. There was no point sulking about it. He brought someone in because he wanted goals. I think it was five subs at the time, but there would always be three strikers on the bench, so you were always involved. We didn't have a 'keeper, Jags and I would be training as emergency 'keepers. That was the way he was, we went through a few strikers at the time, but as a player you want to be kept on your toes, and that's how he did it.

"We had some talented players, but we didn't always have the best players. What we did have though was a great team spirit. I did believe it was just a matter of time before we were successful, I really did."

After reaching two domestic semi-finals, and a play-off final, the diminutive front-man ended his time at the Lane in 2004, after agreeing a deal with Derby - a tough call for a player who became a favourite with the supporters during his stint in S2.

"I was devastated when it came to an end, but the writing was kind of on the wall," he said.

"I wasn't playing that much; I was coming on as a sub here and there. Neil started me against Gillingham away, I scored a hat-trick but on Monday I turned up for training and he pulled me to one side. I thought he was going to say, 'Well done', but he said, 'Pesch, I know you scored a hat-trick at the weekend, but I am not going to start you the next game.'

"To be dropped after a hat-trick was disappointing but he did it in such a way that I didn't even argue back, I just accepted it. That's his skill as a manager. I remember thinking later on, 'I should have said something about that', but he kind of hypnotises you with his words.

"I was in the last year of my contract. I went to see the gaffer and he said he could give me another year, but I would have to take another pay cut. I was still going to be on the bench. He was really saying to me that my time was done. That's how I took it. I think there was an offer there, but he maybe was kind of hoping that I didn't take it.

"Derby were struggling a little at the time, but the facilities were excellent. I met George Burley the manager, and they offered me a three-year contract. I bit their hand off, I couldn't turn it down. I didn't want to go, but I really wanted to play and that's what Derby were offering me."

There's a full interview, with exclusive content, in Monday's edition of UTB where 'Pesch' talks about the semi-final against Arsenal, his play-off semi-final goal against Nottingham Forest, plus much more.

Also, in Monday's UTB, we catch up with ex-striker Christian Nade, plus there are exclusive interviews with John Fleck, Phil Jagielka, George Baldock, Chris Wilder, Luke Freeman, Enda Stevens and John Lundstram - plus much more.

Available for £3.50 from all the usual outlets.

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