Why Sheffield United must get a move on in their Championship promotion push
The was a sense of inevitably about the final result when Philip Billing gave Bournemouth the lead against Sheffield United last weekend.
Anyone watching closely will know the Blades have struggled to get back into matches after falling behind during their underwhelming start to the season.
Fans may have been better served heading for the exits to try and catch an earlier train home, rather than see out the final 25 minutes or so.
That’s because Sheffield United have only equalised once on the six occasions their opponents have taken the lead against them in the league this term – and even then they were still beaten.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men have now failed to peg the opposition back in all of the three instances when they have fallen behind away from home.
It doesn’t get much better at Bramall Lane, either.
Billy Sharp pulled his side level in injury time against Huddersfield, only for the visitors to score again two minutes later.
This worrying trend may not be helped by the Blades’ slow starts, with 79 per cent of their goals coming in the second half.
They need to get a move on more often, because we know what happens when they don’t.
With almost a quarter of the season already gone, United are six points off the play-offs and 10 points adrift of the automatic promotion spots.
What’s more, the Blades are also 10 points down on the 2018/19 promotion-winning season, when they finished as runners-up, and nine points off the 2017/18 campaign when they came close to making the play-offs before eventually finishing tenth.
Jokanovic – the slow starter?
The Serb lost four of his first 10 games in charge of Watford, but also won four.
The Hornets went on to finish second that season to gain promotion to the Premier League.
At Fulham, where he inherited a struggling side, Jokanovic lost five of his first 10 matches in the dugout, with just two wins.
He eventually steered them 11 points clear of relegation, before leading the club to a sixth-placed the following year and promotion via the play-offs.
The new man in charge at Bramall Lane lost four of his first 10 Championship matches this season and has three wins to his name so far.