Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic responds to claims his team has reached a crossroads
Slavisa Jokanovic admits Sheffield United have reached a pivotal moment in their season, acknowledging he will use the international break to try and solve the crisis of confidence threatening to engulf his squad.
Heavily criticised following their defeat at Blackburn Rovers, with the manner of Saturday’s capitulation provoking more fury than the result itself, United are set to spend the next fortnight attempting to address the issues which have left them 18th in the Championship table and 19 points behind second place.
Although Jokanovic refused to pull any punches after the horror show at Ewood Park, where his team appeared resigned to its fate after Reda Khadra, Ben Brereton Diaz and Ian Poveda responded following Rhian Brewster’s opener, the Serb conceded his players are short of self-belief having failed to keep pace with early leaders AFC Bournemouth and Fulham.
Suggesting their reaction over the coming days will shape the remainder of the campaign, Jokanovic told The Star: “I expect we can use these two weeks to bring us to a higher level. Of course this is a moment for us to try and fix things. After that, then there will be one more time (the January transfer window) and then we can not really change so many big things.”
“We know we are not at a good level,” he continued. “We know this is not good enough for us.
“These two weeks are really important, to build up our confidence and trust in ourselves because this situation is not good for anyone who wants to defend the Sheffield United crest.”
With Brewster, John Egan and Morgan Gibbs-White among those on duty with their respective countries, Jokanovic’s opportunity to undertake tactical work will be limited ahead of November 20th’s game against Coventry City. Instead, he is expected to use the time to correct some of the character flaws which are undermining United’s attempt to make an immediate return to the Premier League after being relegated last season.
“You must show responsibility, for yourself and the team,” Jokanovic said. “The players have told me, and have shown me, that they trust in the process. So now we must make sure that they trust in themselves also.”