Slavisa Jokanovic on the ball in first week after being confirmed as Sheffield United's new boss

It has been just one week today since Slavisa Jokanovic was – at last – confirmed as the new Sheffield United manager.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 6:00 am
Slavisa Jokanovic is the new Sheffield United manager: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Fans had been waiting 12 weeks for the replacement to Chris Wilder to be confirmed. Since the announcement last Thursday the 52-year-old has wasted no time.

On Saturday he attended the Champions League final – not only to see his former club as they contested one of the most coveted trophies in world sport. He was also on a mission: an information gathering exercise to study new tactical trends and identify which ones Sheffield United might adopt next season.

It is precisely that attention to detail United believe can help them win promotion from the Championship, after surrendering their Premier League status following a wretched campaign both on and off the pitch in South Yorkshire.

Forty-eight hours earlier, in the restaurant of a Geneva hotel , Jokanovic had officially agreed to take charge at Bramall Lane over lunch with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his associate Abdullah Alghamdi.

Though he will shed more light on his ideas about how to bring the best out of United after reporting for duty next month, Jokanovic has already identified some of the qualities the players he will inherit from Wilder and caretaker Paul Heckingbottom will be expected to demonstrate.

By citing “pace”, “power” and a desire to “defend our values” as being non-negotiable, the 52-year-old knew his words would resonate with a support base which, until a change in fortunes towards the end of the fixture schedule, had grown alarmed by a series of uncharacteristically passive performances. But it was Jokanovic’s assurance that he will not look to blind the squad with science, preferring instead to keep things simple, which grabbed the attention of those hoping to gain a more detailed insight into the approach he is set to employ.

“It is not our target to be especially aesthetic,” said Jokanovic.

“I know what supporters are waiting for on our side. I won’t spend all day talking about targets, but it is clear that if I have to choose between things it will be being pragmatic and trying to get Sheffield United back to where we believe they belong.”

Slavisa’s list of transfer targets – page 70.