Sheffield United: 'Keep your promises and stick to the plan' The Blades are told
Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted Sheffield United are approaching a pivotal moment in their season, after again urging the club to make good on the “promises” they made regarding transfers before officially taking charge.
With his squad set to enter an international break following this weekend’s visit to Luton Town and the deadline for new signings fast approaching, on-loan defender Ben Davies remains the only new player Jokanovic has welcomed to Bramall Lane since beginning work there last month.
After struggling to shake-off the hangover of being relegated from the Premier League, United travel to Kenilworth Road having lost three and drawn one of their four Championship outings under the Serb, whose brief after being unveiled as Chris Wilder’s permanent successor included making an immediate return to the top-flight.
Having urged supporters, players and board members alike to trust in his “process” following the recent defeat by Huddersfield Town, Jokanovic, who has previously won promotions with both Watford and Fulham, told The Star he was looking forward to the prospect of spending a fortnight fine-turning the tactics he wants to employ on the training ground.
But he also made reference to United’s painfully slow progress in terms of recruitment, suggesting they had indicated at least five “fresh faces” would arrive before the market closes during the negotiations which led to his appointment.
“There is work ahead of us and we must try and improve on what we need,” said Jokanovic, who could sign Algerian midfielder Adlene Guedioura after seeing a proposed move for Sampdoria’s Ronaldo Vieira collapse. “And from another side, it is necessary to improve what we miss.
“I need more time working with my players over a longer period and I am looking forward to that.
“It is also necessary to do the things they promised me when I came here.”
Asked if he was referring to acquisitions, Jokanovic replied: “We are talking about quality and different options.”
Although John Fleck, Oliver Burke and Oli McBurnie will be disappointed to have been omitted from the latest Scotland squad, Jokanovic will privately welcome the chance to work with them on an intensive basis over the coming fortnight. If United do manage to bolster the options at his disposal, Jokanovic will also use the break in the domestic fixture calendar to bed in those they acquire. Ben Davies, who will spend the remainder of the campaign in South Yorkshire after joining on loan from Liverpool, was excused from duty when United beat Derby County in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, But he will return, alongside goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, against Town.
Jokanovic confirmed last week that Michael Verrips, who featured during the second round tie, will make way in Bedfordshire although a replacement for Aaron Ramsdale, now of Arsenal, remains on his wanted list.
"We were talking about four players before, right at the start,” Jokanovic said. “But then Aaron goes and so it is simple maths, simple science. That is another so that makes five.
"First we talked about positions and then names.”