Sheffield United: Why Slavisa Jokanovic has leapt to his team's defence following back to back defeats

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has defended his team’s progress since the last international break, insisting they can use this month’s pause in the domestic fixture schedule to address some of the remaining issues he believes are preventing them from realising their full potential.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 3:31 pm

Despite finishing the latest round of matches with defeats to Middlesbrough and AFC Bournemouth, Jokanovic told The Star United are now a much more effective unit than the one which failed to win any of its opening five matches at the beginning of the season.

Identifying their improved performances in front of goal as a sign that confidence is returning following last term’s relegation from the Premier League, the Serb, whose side have netted 15 times in seven outings following August’s stalemate at Luton Town, said: “We are getting more people forward now. We are getting more people into the box, more people into the positions we need them to get into and that, of course, can only be a good thing.”

Despite acknowledging United were below par at the Riverside Stadium six days ago, Jokanovic blamed last weekend’s loss on the south coast on the match officials - arguing that both of Bournemouth’s efforts following Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener should have been disallowed.

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“Unfortunately it will not happen every time, even though we will try, but I still believe we took a step forward,” Jokanovic said. “I thought, although it can still be improved of course, that the performance was good. That is the sensation that I got, even before going in more deeply. That is what my eyes told me.”

Bournemouth, England, 2nd October 2021. Robin Olsen of Sheffield Utd complains to referee Robert Jones about the awarding of a penalty during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage
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