Sheffield United: 'Slavisa Jokanovic is the manager the lads all wanted...he can take us back to the top,' says captain Billy Sharp
Sheffield United’s players wanted Slavisa Jokanovic to become their next manager long before he officially took charge at Bramall Lane, captain Billy Sharp has revealed, insisting the Serb’s methods can propel the club back into the Premier League.
United considered a number of different candidates, including Oostende’s Alexander Blessin and caretaker Paul Heckingbottom, for the vacancy post after parting company with Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder in March.
But speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Luton Town, Sharp confirmed the former Yugoslavia and Chelsea midfielder was always the preferred choice in the dressing room; describing how he and his team mates were delighted when The Star first reported United had made contact.
“I think whatever manager came in, they were always going to get compared to the last one,” said Sharp, who twice won promotion under Wilder. “The lads were delighted with the appointment. I know he’s who the lads wanted. When he got named, everyone was happy. He’s had success in the past and why can’t he do it again?”
United travel to Kenilworth Road still searching for their first win of the new Championship season, with Jokanovic suggesting earlier this week that a combination of factors means some members of his squad are still suffering from the hangover of being relegated last term. The 53-year-old also made slow starts to his spells in charge of Watford and Fulham, but went on to lead both into the top-flight.
Although United’s slow progress in the transfer market has become a source of frustration for both Jokanovic and those under his command alike - Ben Davies, on-loan from Liverpool, is the only new face to arrive at the club during the summer window – Sharp continued: “The gaffer wants to play football but we haven’t done it quickly enough. He wants us to do it quickly and with meaning to it.
“There’s been a few individual errors and we need to cut them out.
“Our old manager is going to get a job soon. He has a job there and we have to win games for us. I believe when one result comes, it breeds confidence. And then another one will come along and another one after that.”
Despite inviting Adlene Guedioura, the Algeria midfielder, to train at The Steelphalt Academy, Jokanovic admitted earlier this week that he does not expect “any help” before the meeting with Nathan Jones’ side. Guedioura worked with Jokanovic at Vicarage Road and also Al-Gharafa, where the two men were employed last season.
“We want to get back promoted,” said Sharp, who travels to Bedfordshire searching for his third goal in as many outings. “We haven’t started particularly well but the last time we got promoted we didn’t start particularly well either.
“We are trying to play a different way. The gaffer has put his mark on things, We are doing it in training but not in games where it matters. When it clicks, it will look really good.
"He (Jokanovic) has had success everywhere else he’s been so why not here? I’m sure, seeing what I’m seeing every day, that he will.”