Sheffield United defender makes a surprising claim about the Championship ahead of crunch clash with AFC Bournemouth
George Baldock has dismissed suggestions the Championship fixture calendar is handicapping Sheffield United’s transition to life under Slavisa Jokanovic, insisting he prefers the fast turnaround in games to the more relaxed schedule they followed in the Premier League.
Although Baldock conceded the former Yugoslavia midfielder and his coaching staff would probably prefer more time on the training ground as they look to implement their methods, he admitted to finding a hectic programme more personally beneficial ahead of today’s trip to AFC Bournemouth.
With United set to enter the latest international break following their meeting with Scott Parker’s side, Baldock said: “Personally, I like the three games in a week set-up. I find it helps me get more into a rhythm.
“As a manager, though, he would probably like more time on the training ground. He’ll be working us tirelessly during the international break.”
As well as the hectic nature of second tier football, Jokanovic’s decision to adopt different strategies to the ones his predecessor Chris Wilder honed during four and a half seasons at the helm has also been touted as a factor behind United’s slow start to the campaign. Appointed in May before starting work in July, the Serb failed to win any of his first five league matches at the helm. However, despite being beaten by Middlesbrough on Tuesday, United’s performances and results have improved significantly since the last round of World Cup qualifiers. They dispatched Peterborough, Hull City and Derby County and drew with Preston North End en route to Teesside.
Intriguingly, Jokanovic also proved something of a slow burn at Fulham before delivering Premier League football to west London three years ago.
“Potentially we could be like that, who knows, but I’m confident it can click a lot sooner,” said Baldock, stressing United wanted to make a “statement” by ending Bournemouth’s unbeaten run in the competition. “Ultimately, it’s down to us as players. We are fed all of the information and he does everything for us. Really, he leaves no stone unturned.”
“Since I came here, we’ve always recruited to a formation,” Baldock added. “The gaffer now has got different ideas so it was always going to take time.”