Why Chris Wilder's style was key to Sheffield United hiring Slavisa Jokanovic

Evolution, not revolution, was key to Slavisa Jokanovic’s appointment as Sheffield United boss, according to the club’s chief executive Stephen Bettis.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:15 pm

Speaking to a Premier League broadcast rights holder, Bettis revealed the Serb’s impending arrival will not herald radical change at Bramall Lane following five years of continuity under Chris Wilder.

The Blades have become known for their 3-5-2 system and have the personnel to match, with the club repeatedly insisting the majority of the current team will be retained despite relegation.

Bettis said: "A lot of how Slav wants to play and work aligns with our current squad. We've tried to incorporate Chris's style of football as a club - it's pointless the academy playing a completely different way - and we've tried to ensure a culture and football philosophy going forward. We think there's a lot of synergy with Slav.

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Sheffield United's chief executive Stephen Bettis.

"It's evolution over revolution. I just don't think revolutions work in the short-term in football.”

Why Sheffield United took their time before bringing in Slavisa Jokanovic as new boss

He added: "If you blow it up, clear out all your key players and totally change the team's philosophy and identity, it takes two, three, four years to come to fruition. You don't get that luxury in football, especially in our position where we've been relegated and we have the desire to go straight back.

"We have to put faith in a lot of the players who have served us so well. You look at certain clubs who get relegated from the Premier League and half of the squad immediately wants to leave. Obviously, everyone wants to play top-tier football but a lot of our players have come through the journey and know what it takes to get out of the Championship. I think that will stand us in really good stead."

Bettis also stressed the need for the club to hire a “strong character” for the unenviable task of filling Wilder’s shoes.

"Slav's definitely that and I think he'll show it when he gets here and starts working with the players,” Bettis added.

Jokanovic will officially start his new role on July 1 once his contract at Al-Gharafa in Qatar finishes, but the 52-year-old is understood to already be planning for his third shot at promotion to the Premier League.