Sheffield United: 'My players deserve to be shown more respect' manager Slavisa Jokanovic fumes

Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, claimed his players had been disrespected during their controversial defeat by AFC Bournemouth, accusing “joke” decisions of costing them the chance to become the first team to beat Scott Parker’s side in the Championship this season.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 5:00 am

The Serb was enraged when referee Robert Jones awarded a penalty following Enda Stevens’ challenge on Dominic Solanke, despite television replays later confirming the incident took place outside the box.

Having earlier seen Morgan Gibbs-White fire United in front at the Vitality Stadium, Jokanovic also insisted Philip Billing’s winner should have been disallowed for offside.

Insisting his players deserved better treatment from the match officials, he told The Star: “I respect people but I also ask them to respect my job and respect my players. We expect respect for the hard work that they put in.

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Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic (left) and Bournemouth manager Scott Parker during the Sky Bet Championship match at Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Saturday October 2, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

“This is what happens. When my players approach their job like they did, and put in the hard work that they did, they should be respected for that. That is what I think. This is what I believe.”

United slipped to 14th in the table following their loss at the Vitality Stadium, finishing the afternoon 13 points behind Bournemouth who climbed to the top of the table after stretching their unbeaten run to 11 games.

However, Parker later admitted that a contest which saw United substitute Lys Mousset hit the woodwork during the closing stages “could have gone either way”; predicting United will be “challenging” for promotion come the end of the season.

Jokanovic will instruct United to chronicle his concerns in the post-match report they are required to submit to the English Football League, but will stop short of asking them to lodge a complaint.

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic arrives to the ground before the Sky Bet Championship match at Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Saturday October 2, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Jones is also expected to mention Jokanovic’s comments in his own review, but the 53-year-old was careful not to question the integrity of either him or his assistants. Marco Cesarini, United’s head of medical, also appeared to be warned by the fourth official Charles Breakspear for angrily protesting about Jones’ interpretation of Stevens’ challenge on Solanke.

“If I answer you honestly it will be ugly,” Jokanovic said, when asked for his thoughts on the incident. “And if I answer you kindly it will be fake.”

Bournemouth, England, 2nd October 2021. Chris Basham of Sheffield Utd tackles Jaidon Anthony of Bournemouth during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage