Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic criticises players’ ‘negative’ mentality after Barnsley almost scrape draw

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic criticised his side’s mentality after they allowed Barnsley a route back into the game from three goals down.

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 4:13 pm

Following a quiet first half the Blades raced out of the traps in the second period and into a two-goal lead thanks to a quickfire double from Lys Mousset before Ben Osborn’s strike put them 3-0 up and in total control.

Sheffield United player ratings after 3-2 win over Barnsley

But Barnsley hit back on 78 minutes through Devante Cole and set up a tense finish four minutes later through substitute Aaron Leya Iseka which, from Jokanovic’s point of view, was an unnecessarily outcome.

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Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic on the touchline during the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell Stadium, Barnsley. Picture date: Sunday October 24, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Barnsley. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire.

"They score the first goal after the first chance and we start to be in some panic,” he said.

"We started thinking we cannot win the game.

"At this kind of moment you need to be calm and try to finish the game in better shape. It’s not the first time today it was a really, really hard 10 minutes for us.

"If we need to score three goals to win every game this is really hard work for us.

“It’s simple, we give them (Barnsley) oxygen.”

Jokanovic revealed he had planned to bring Rhian Brewster – who returned to the matchday squad - off the bench in the second half but was instead forced to shore up his defence by introducing Chris Basham late on in place of Oli McBurnie.

He added: “I’m the type of coach, if you win 3-0 I prefer try and score a fourth or fifth.

"I am happy. Three points, everything is nice, but if you don’t improve this kind of the game it’s really expensive and really costly for us.”

Despite a wealth of Premier League experience between them and international caps, Sheffield United’s defenders have kept just three clean sheets in 14 attempts this season.

The Blades’ back line is the fifth leakiest in the Championship with 21 goals conceded – an average of 1.5 every game.

Jokanovic added: “When they score first goal I have sensation my team start thinking ‘wow, we have already lost, they will score two more or three more’.

"This mentality, if you are thinking in this direction, this is negative.”