Sheffield United v Coventry City: Slavisa Jokanovic is convinced promotion is still a realistic target...and this is why
Slavisa Jokanovic has told his Sheffield United players they can still qualify for the play-offs this season, despite finishing the latest round of fixtures nine points behind sixth place.
Although any hope of achieving automatic promotion realistically disappeared long ago, the United manager insisted events during Saturday’s draw with Coventry City have convinced him that the end of term knockouts remain within reach.
“I am not worried,” Jokanovic replied, when asked if he was worried about entering the crucial Christmas period too far off the pace. “I am only thinking about the next game.
“We will see where we are at the beginning of May. It is still too early for us to give up and say we will try (for the Premier League) in August. Everything is in front of us.”
With City in fifth, he added: “Yes, there is a big difference in terms of the points. But what I see in terms of quality, it (the difference) is not so big.
“I like Coventry City, because they have good players and are organised. For us, it is not a question about Christmas. It is a question about the next game.”
United, who return to action at Reading on Tuesday, were fortunate to enter the interval of their meeting with Mark Robins’ side on level terms following a disappointing first-half performance. But they improved after the break, creating a number of opportunities which they failed to convert before the contest ended goalless.
“What is fair? What isn’t fair? Who cares? We played the first 45 not well and were really nervous,” Jokanovic conceded. “We played without mind and speed. But fortunately for us, when we weren’t playing good football, they didn’t create a lot of things.
“When we moved the ball better, we started to create chances; particularly in the final 20 minutes. We had the sensation that we deserved something more but weren’t able to finish our actions.”
"We didn’t plan to do it, move the ball better and with more speed, at the end of the game,” he added. “We planned to do it at the start.”