Sheffield United: The one positive Slavisa Jokanovic took from a painful defeat to Millwall

Slavisa Jokanovic insisted there was at least one positive his Sheffield United team could take from their performance during the 2-1 defeat by Millwall.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 8:09 am

Although he refused to disguise his disappointment with the result - “It hurts us” - a first-half display he admitted lacked conviction and the referee’s refusal to dismiss visiting midfielder George Saville following a blatant trip on John Fleck, Jokanovic did praise the fight United demonstrated during the second period of a contest settled by Jake Cooper’s 92nd minute strike.

Despite being reduced to 10 men soon after the interval when Morgan Gibbs-White collected his second yellow card of the match, the Serb watched United create several good openings before the Millwall defender pounced.

“We created chances and, until the end, I didn’t feel as if we were under too much stress or pressure,” Jokanovic said. “They (Millwall) had maybe one good one themselves, although they did get a couple at the end. The players fought after half-time and showed more calmness. Even when we didn’t play a very good game, in the first (half), we had a very good chance to score.”

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Jokanovic was referring to the incident which saw David McGoldrick, one of two changes to the starting eleven which had beaten Stoke City three days earlier, scoop over the crossbar from point blank range after sliding to meet Ben Osborn’s cross.

Millwall should also have found themselves a man down when, having already been cautioned, Saville inexplicably escaped further punishment after bringing down Fleck to stop a United attack.

“With one player less, we didn’t have a lot of problems,” said Jokanovic, whose team will be without Gibbs-White for Sunday’s derby at Barnsley. “We just weren’t clinical.

"We changed shape, we improved as it went on even though we weren’t happy with the start. We showed more heart and more movement but if you create, you need to take.”

Sheffield, England, 19th October 2021. John Fleck of Sheffield Utd talks with Referee Matt Donohue during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Isaac Parkin / Sportimage
Sheffield, England, 19th October 2021. John Fleck of Sheffield Utd (L) holds off George Saville of Millwall during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield, England, 19th October 2021. lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield Utd replaces Conor Hourihane of Sheffield Utd during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Isaac Parkin / Sportimage