Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic makes a promise to his players which could unlock their promotion potential

Manager Slavisa Jokanovic has adopted a new psychological ploy in his bid to unlock Sheffield United’s potential, telling his players he is prepared to take full responsibility for any result so long as they continue following his gameplans.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 4:00 am

By reminding he will confront any criticism of their performances head on between now and the end of the season, the Serb hopes to encourage greater freedom of expression among a United squad which entered the international break 14th in the Championship table.

Speaking as they attempt to begin overhauling the six point gap separating them from the top six by beating Stoke City next weekend, Jokanovic said: “Listen, if they follow my instructions then I can not say anything against them. Ever. That is certain.

“If we lose a game, and they do that, then it is because the gameplan we had is not good enough. If they follow it and do what we ask then it can not be because of how they played.

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“They have shown that they can do what we have demanded and asked of them. I am not a person who will criticise people for doing what they are told to do, and doing it well the best they can, if then things don’t work out. That is not me. How can you do that? The answer, for me, is that you can’t.”

Jokanovic’s guarantee of total support does come with one caveat, however. After going on a five match unbeaten run, United were beaten in controversial circumstances at AFC Bournemouth seven days ago having also lost at Middlesbrough earlier in the week.

Reflecting upon events during the match at the Vitality Stadium, having stated afterwards that neither of the two goals United conceded following Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener should have stood, Jokanovic said: “Then, they did a very good job and they did exactly what we demanded of them. But they did not get what they deserved because of something else that happened, some other things. But I still thought they did some very interesting and positive things.

“They are good players and they have shown desire and improvement, which deserves respect in my opinion.”

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Slavisa Jokanovic felt his players were hard done by at AFC Bournemouth last weekend: Paul Terry / Sportimage