Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic hails another "positive step" despite still being furious with decision-making

Nearly a week after watching his players beaten in controversial circumstances by another team expected to challenge for promotion from the Championship this season, Slavisa Jokanovic’s anger at events during last Saturday’s defeat by AFC Bournemouth is only just beginning to subside.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 4:56 pm

But having encouraged Bramall Lane’s first team squad to channel their frustration into “something positive” when they return to action following the international break, Jokanovic remains convinced the performance United produced against Scott Parker’s league leaders confirms they possess the ability required to earn themselves a shot at the Premier League.

“Still, after a defeat, I interpreted that we took another positive step forward,” the Serb said. “I thought that we grew up and showed a maturity. We were competitive. We did many interesting things and played exactly the way that we had to, because the opposition is very good also.

“But we paid a very expensive price for things that, to a large degree, were beyond our control.”

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Jokanovic was referring to the decision to award a penalty to the hosts following Enda Stevens’ foul on Dominic Solanke, which clearly took place outside the box. Only minutes after Solanke had converted to cancel-out Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener, Philip Billing scored a goal which Jokanovic claimed should have been disallowed for an offside during the build-up.

“It was a move in the right direction,” said Jokanovic, whose 14th placed side returns to action when Stoke City visit South Yorkshire next weekend. “That is how I viewed it and saw things because, for long periods, I thought we were in control.”

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Goalkeeper Robin Olsen complains about the penalty decision at the Vitality Stadium: Paul Terry / Sportimage