Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed West Brom let their tactics slip on social media prior to their 2-0 loss to the Blades on Saturday.
United won for the first time in seven outings as first-half goals from Iliman Ndiaye and Oli Mcburnie were enough to see off West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Reflecting on his tactical plan against the Baggies, Heckingbottom has revealed he deployed a member of staff to glance through West Brom’s social media channels for possible clues on how Albion would line up.
In an interview with The Star this week, the Englishman admitted the Blades developed an understanding of how Carlos Corberán would set his side up ahead of his first game in charge of the Baggies.
Heckingbottom said: “You have to look at it (social media) because there is so much stuff that gets put on there and a lot of it is more instructive than people sometimes realise.
“We put a lot of time into it. There might be something seemingly insignificant which goes out, something visual or something that is said, and it can tell you a lot if you know what you’re looking for.”
Heckingbottom put United’s recent slump in form down to individual errors prior to their weekend win over West Brom, with the Blades still locked in a difficult injury crisis.
However, the Blades boss was ‘pretty sure’ how Albion were set to approach Saturday’s clash as ‘they put something out for us (United) to see’.
“We tend to do the opposite; we can do things that are misleading or cause a bit of confusion,” Heckingbottom added.
“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.”
Team news leaks on social media have become more common in recent months, with managers and staff often aware of key absentees for their respective opposition in the hours leading to kick-off.
Heckingbottom added: “There is 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 is 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.”
Fourth-placed United will be keen to kick on from their win at the weekend when they play Bristol City at Ashton Gate in the Championship on Tuesday evening.