Sheffield United: 'I approach my work as if I will be here for 20 years' says Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanovic admits he is approaching his work as if he will be in charge of Sheffield United for the next “20 years” after vowing to always put the club’s interests before his own.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Blackburn Rovers, Jokanovic explained how he hopes to reprofile Bramall Lane’s first team squad during the January transfer window - with two wingers and a midfielder identified by the Serb and his staff as priority positions.
Although United’s chequered start to the season has raised fears that plan could be put on hold unless their position in the table improves, Jokanovic told The Star that the ideas he has presented to directors are designed to give his side the best chance of regaining Premier League status at the earliest opportunity.
Acknowledging the increasingly unpredictable nature of English football is tempting some of his counterparts to only consider the short-term, Jokanovic said: “I must be calm. I do not panic. I know what I need and what my team needs.
“I don’t do things where there is no benefit (for United). I am working as if I am here for 20 years.
“What happens (the day after) tomorrow, I am not caring so much. I need to make my job that way, to go about my work in that manner. It is simple.”
United have prepared for their trip to Ewood Park, where Rovers were beaten 7-0 by Fulham on Wednesday, ranked 16th in the Championship table. That position reflects their inability to piece together a consistent run of results, with losses to Blackpool and Millwall sandwiched into a run of games which has also seen them beat Stoke City and Barnsley.
Ben Davies and Sander Berge are among the United players unavailable for selection in Lancashire, together with Adlene Guedioura who has undergone surgery to correct an ankle injury.
Jokanovic made no attempt to disguise his frustration with the speed of progress his employers made during the summer transfer market, with the likes of Davies and Guedioura not arriving until just before the August deadline.
During the build-up to Tuesday’s draw at Nottingham Forest, where the on-loan Morgan Gibbs-White gave United the lead before Lewis Grabban equalised, Jokanovic indicated he would prefer to broker permanent deals this time around rather than focus on temporary agreements. Like Gibbs-White, Robin Olsen, Conor Hourihane and Davies are all scheduled to return to their parent clubs at the end of the campaign.
Chris Basham is expected to again deputise for Davies against Rovers, after impressing at the City Ground.
“Football, yes, it is chaotic,” said Jokanovic, who took charge of United following their relegation from the top-flight last term. “I must be focused, though, and consider everything. I do not take part in all of that. Everything else, it is of no interest to me. I am only focused, professionally speaking, on my team and what it needs.”
“I am a positive person,” he added. “I believe in my players and I trust in my players. That is always the case.”