Sheffield United: It pitted The Blades against Liverpool but now Slavisa Jokanovic agrees with Anfield

Unlike his predecessor at Sheffield United, Slavisa Jokanovic has welcomed moves to increase the number of substitutions managers are permitted to make during competitive matches.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:40 pm

Speaking after the International Football Association Board recommended raising it from three to five following a virtual conference in midweek, the Serb confirmed he is in favour of the change - arguing it reflects the demands being placed on players and coaching staff by domestic and global fixture schedules.

Chris Wilder, who left his position at Bramall Lane in March, vociferously opposed the idea when it was proposed by some clubs before United’s relegation from the Premier League; with his stance provoking a furious response from Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, who wanted to permanently enshrine a tool, briefly introduced following the Covid-19 pandemic, into the sport’s rulebook.

But speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Blackpool, Jokanovic said: “Listen, five subs? I am in favour of this. In our case, I believe it can be of benefit to us because we have a lot of good players so I vote ‘yes’.

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“I believe there are a lot of games and this possibility exists. I don’t like the rule at the moment because people are talking about progress - they want to play more and quicker. So I like it (the proposal), yes.”

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Wilder’s resistance stemmed from a belief, as he fought to preserve United’s top-flight status, that raising the bar would give an unfair advantage to those teams with the biggest and most expensively assembled squads. But with United back in the Championship, three points outside the play-off positions, Jokanovic has no such concern.

However, he did call on governing bodies to properly enforce a directive which demands players who are being replaced leave the pitch via the quickest possible route, adding: “I know I am now talking about another rule but I can not understand why it takes a minute and a half often for that to happen. It can be done much better and much more simply. But again, I accept, I have been asked about one thing and am now talking about something else.”

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic would welcome the chance to make more changes to his team: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, on a visit to Sheffield United last season: Andrew Yates/Sportimage
Slavisa Jokanovic would like to be able to make five substitutions during Championship games, sich as the one his Sheffield United team will play against Blackpool this weekend : Simon Bellis / Sportimage