Sheffield United: The one change Slavisa Jokanovic definitely won't be making against Blackpool

Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, has told his players to continue focusing on creating quality chances rather than simply taking pot-shots at goal.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 5:00 am

The directive comes despite calls for them to adopt a more confrontational approach following a chequered start to the season which sees Jokanovic’s men prepare for Saturday’s game against Blackpool 14th in the Championship table.

Although he stressed he does not want United to over-elaborate when an opportunity to score presents itself, the Serb plans to ignore suggestions they should look to get the ball forward and gamble - insisting that showing attention to detail will eventually pay dividends.

“Sometimes, there are steps forwards and backwards as part of our profession,” Jokanovic said. “I am frustrated after some games. Sometimes, you don’t need to shoot 100 times to score a goal. Between 90 and 98 minutes, some negative things happen for us. Some good things, and some very good things, they also happen too.”

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“There is a gap for improvement,” he added. “I don’t find, to be honest, some gap or bad attitude. I don’t see that there is a gap (regarding) what the guys are giving or putting in.”

After conceding nine goals in their last five outings - two of those coming as Barnsley threatened a dramatic comeback during last weekend’s 3-2 victory at Oakwell - United’s focus ahead of the meeting with Neil Critchley’s side has been on improving their defence performances, with particular attention being paid to how they perform under stress.

But Jokanovic does not want that to diminish their returns at the other end of the pitch, where Lys Mousset has now hit the target three times in two appearances. The striker has been undergoing treatment for a calf muscle problem sustained after completing his brace during the all South Yorkshire affair.

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Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic won't be changing approach when Blackpool visit Bramall Lane this weekend: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

With Billy Sharp, Oli McBurnie, David McGoldrick and Rhian Brewster all vying for places in attack, Jokanovic is also expected to welcome back Morgan Gibbs-White from suspension when Blackpool cross the Pennines. The midfielder, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, has scored four goals since August - three of which have come since arriving at Bramall Lane.

“It is all about finding the right options, the right balance and doing what is right,” said Jokanovic, who is again set to be without Sander Berge (hamstring) although Luke Freeman was scheduled to resume training earlier this week. Oli Burke is also closing in on a return to fitness but is likely to be unavailable for selection until after United’s trip to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.

“We always assess and analyse our work,” Jokanovic continued. “That process always happens, even straight away after a game. There is always room for improvement. There is always a gap, yes.

“But we also trust in the process that we are following and we believe it is bringing benefits, although there is still work to be done. It is about following that process and sticking to it – showing trust – which the guys are.”

Lys Mousset is is fine form and scored twice against Barnsley for Sheffield United last weekend: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, is convinced his methods will pay dividends at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis / Sportimage