Nottingham Forest must keep a lid on any nerves if they are to triumph at Wembley on Sunday, according to former defender Michael Dawson. The Reds take on Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-offs final, with the prize of playing Premier League football up for grabs. But the occasion also comes with plenty of pressure and expectation.
Forest have had experience of being in the spotlight this season, particularly with their brilliant FA Cup run. But facing the Terriers under the arch, with the prospect of ending the club’s 23-year exile from the top-flight, will be a completely different scenario. Dawson has been in that kind of situation, with Hull City. And the Reds fans’ favourite says his old club must keep their emotions in check.
The 38-year-old, who was promoted via the play-offs with the Tigers said that there will be nerves on the pitch that day. He said everyone asks if you enjoy it but he insinuated that the interview Steve Cook have after the semi-final penalty shootout win over Sheffield was exactly right, talking about how his legs had gone.
He added that Huddersfield finished higher in the league, so it’s not going to be an easy game and that they know that. But according to him, it’s a one-off game. It can be fine margins. He also continued that people talk about everything that’s gone in the season, and people bigging up how good they’ve been, but it’s about those 90 minutes. You need your big players to turn up.
He said that they have to cope with the pressure and make sure they don’t make any mistakes early on in the game, because that breeds momentum. And then when they get their chances, they have to make sure that they them. Concluding his interview, he mentioned that football is special; the nights and the atmosphere, the buzz and adrenaline you have around these games. And that the players have to try to enjoy them because when they retire they’d probably look back and regret not enjoying it as they would have loved.