Sheffield United: No injury issue for the only player to perform against Blackburn Rovers

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Rhian Brewster was withdrawn from Sheffield United’s game against Blackburn Rovers for tactical reasons, not because of injury, Slavisa Jokanovic told The Star.

After scoring his first league goal since becoming the most expensive player in United’s history 13 months ago, Brewster was perhaps the only member of Jokanovic’s squad to leave Ewood Park with their reputation enhanced as goals from Reda Khadra, Ben Brereton Dian and Ian Poveda saw Rovers come from behind to take all three points.

The 21-year-old could be seen limping around the pitch at the final whistle, as United’s players thanked the near 5,000 strong travelling army of supporters for demonstrating a conviction and commitment to the cause their own performances lacked.

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But speaking after the game, Jokanovic confirmed Brewster was simply suffering from fatigue after setting an example few of his colleagues were either inclined or capable of following.

“He played around 60 minutes and I made that decision to try and address some things that were happening,” Jokanovic explained, before commending Brewster on his breakthrough moment. “It was tactical, there was no injury.”

Despite appearing in a midfield position on the team sheet published before kick-off, Brewster spent most of his afternoon playing as a ‘number 10’; often taking up more advanced and central positions than striker Billy Sharp. Jokanovic’s tactical ploy paid-off only two minutes into the game, when Sharp swept a cross into the Rovers area which Brewster, adjusting his body position to make a clean connection with the ball, converted in spectacular fashion. But another woeful defensive display, compounded by some inept decision making, meant United surrendered the advantage as first Khadra and then Brereton Diaz and Poveda pounced.

Rhian Brewster celebrates his goal for Sheffield United at Ewood Park: Simon Bellis / SportimageRhian Brewster celebrates his goal for Sheffield United at Ewood Park: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Rhian Brewster celebrates his goal for Sheffield United at Ewood Park: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

The 3-1 scoreline sees United enter the international break 18th in the Championship table; seven points outside the play-off positions and 19 behind second placed Fulham.

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“We changed Rhian’s position,” Jokanovic said. “It was a slightly different position for him and something we had thought about. It will do Rhian’s confidence a lot of good, so we hope it will help him. But we are about more than Rhian, so we can’t take too much (positivity) from it.”