Sheffield United: Why Slavisa Jokanovic believes his team have just taken a huge step forward in their push for promotion

Sheffield United’s players have scored an important psychological victory in their battle to recover from being relegated last season manager Slavisa Jokanovic insisted following Saturday’s win over Derby County, predicting the manner in which the victory was achieved should convince his squad to trust in themselves and “the process” coaching staff believe can lead the club back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 5:00 am

Despite seeing the visitors reduced to 10 men early in the second half when goalkeeper Kelle Roos was sent-off, United required an 88th minute penalty from Billy Sharp to beat Wayne Rooney’s side.

Although Jokanovic conceded their performance left much to be desired, expressing concerns about the body language being displayed during key moments of the contest, he told The Star: “I am sure the fact we didn’t play well and still win will help the (healing) process.

“We gave them instructions about how to play against 10 players and they followed us. They took it from one side to another and did what we had to do. We did what we needed to do and that should teach people a lot. It tells them to trust in what they do and to trust in the process.”

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Sheffield, England, 25th September 2021. Slavisa Jokanovic manager of Sheffield Utd shouts instructions during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

After making a disappointing start to the new Championship campaign - something Jokanovic attributed to the disappointment of surrendering their top-flight status - United have now taken 10 points from a possible 12 since the international break. After travelling to Middlesbrough tomorrow, they face AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium this weekend before Stoke City visit Bramall Lane on October 16.

“We need to be the owner of our home,” Jokanovic said. “We need to intimidate the opposition and give them the signal that, even if we don’t score in 80 minutes, we know we can still score in the final 10, the final five, the final two or the final one. We need to show that we never give up, which we didn’t here. We never give up. During the games, we need to show that trust in what we are doing and also ourselves.”

Sheffield, England, 25th September 2021. George Baldock and Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd celebrate the win during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Sheffield, England, 25th September 2021. Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage