Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic explains his surprising approach towards the international break
Slavisa Jokanovic has outlined his plans for the international break, explaining why it would be a mistake for Sheffield United to adopt an overly forensic approach to their work over the coming week.
Instead, as the Serb looks to build on the progress United have made since the last pause in the Championship fixture schedule, he will instruct his coaching staff and players to take a broader view - challenging them to identify how performances can be improved across the pitch rather than simply one or two key areas.
“I don’t want to just concentrate on this thing or that thing,” Jokanovic said. “I think, if you do that, then you miss an opportunity because you overlook others. And in football, because this is a game for intelligent people, that means you are not giving yourself the best chance to get better at what you do.
“Good teams, the very best teams, they are never satisfied with what they do and they never stand still. Because you can always get better at everything, and that is the attitude and the personality I like.”
Despite seeing John Egan, Robin Olsen and Rhys Notrington-Davies called-up by their respective countries for the most recent round of World Cup qualifiers and friendlies, United were able to put their time to good use during the two week gap between August’s visit to Luton Town and last month’s meeting with Peterborough. Held to a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road - delivering a performance which, combined with the lack of progress his employers were making in the transfer market, exasperated Jokanovic - they beat Peterborough 6-2 on their return to action.
That result, United’s first league victory under the Serb, sparked their best run of form this term until defeats at Middlesbrough and AFC Bournemouth curtailed that progress. Taking an average of 0.4 points per game en route to Bedfordshire, United still left the Vitality Stadium now returning a figure of 1.09 across the campaign as a whole. Based on the evidence of the last two seasons, they need to achieve somewhere around 1.6 in order to challenge for the top six; hence Jokanovic’s refusal to focus on certain aspects of their play.
“We can do everything better,” he said. “That has to be the aim.”