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One manager gone, Sheff Utd finally showing signs of life - Interview
Saturday, 11th Dec 2021 10:15 by Clive Whittingham

Slavisa Jokanovic didn't make Christmas at Sheffield United, but three wins from three coming into Monday's game with QPR suggests there may yet be life in a Blades' promotion push this year.

I had Sheff Utd down for the title this year - why has it been such a poor start for the season?

An unfortunate mismanagement of the club has unfortunately taken place, getting in a manager who looked good on paper and was a good appointment simply for ticket sales then failing to back him with players capable of playing in his desired system. A lack of trust/respect between the current players and that manager all mixed together to form another payoff just to sneak in your desired appointment in the first place in after the fact. It’s a mess and it has cost us greatly.

Sheff Utd league results so far…
Sheff Utd 0-1 Birmingham Colin 19
Swansea 0-0 Sheff Utd
West Brom 4-0 Sheff Utd Robinson og 26, O’Shea 47, Mowatt 53, Robinson 59
Sheff Utd 1-2 Huddersfield Sharp 90 – Koroma 75, Colwill 90
Luton 0-0 Sheff Utd
Sheff Utd 6-2 Peterborough Ndiaye 14, 70, Fleck 51, Osborn 53, 90, Gibbs-White 68 – Marriott 40, Clarke-Harris pen 79
Sheff Utd 2-2 Preston Gibbs-White 7, Berge 84 – Johnson 19, Ris 90
Hull 1-3 Sheff Utd Lewis-Potter 79 – Sharp 17, Egan 50, 61
Sheff Utd 1-0 Derby Sharp pen 89
Boro 2-0 Sheff Utd Watmore 9, McNair 37
Bournemouth 2-1 Sheff Utd Solanke pen 62, Billing 65 – Gibbs-White 56
Sheff Utd 2-1 Stoke Mousset 80, McGoldrick 83 – Brown 55
Sheff Utd 1-2 Millwall Sharp pen 45 – Wallace 11, Cooper 90
Barnsley 2-3 Sheff Utd Cole 78, Iseka 82 – Mousset 51, 53, Osborn 72
Sheff Utd 0-1 Blackpool Anderson 76
Forest 1-1 Sheff Utd Grabban 83 – Gibbs-White 76
Blackburn 3-1 Sheff Utd Khadra 37, Brereton 59, Poveda 70 – Brewster 2
Sheff Utd 0-0 Coventry
Reading 0-1 Sheff Utd Bogle 57
Sheff Utd 2-0 Bristol City Brewster 40, Sharp 89
Cardiff 2-3 Sheff Utd Harris 32, McGuinness 90 – Gibbs-White 61, Sharp 73, McGoldrick 75

Slavisa Jokanovic did well at Watford and Fulham, though his teams did always start slowly. Why didn't it work at Sheff Utd? Should he have had more time?

I wasn’t sad to see him go. Some managers suit certain clubs, no disrespect to Watford or Fulham but their fans are hardly boisterous or known for a defined work ethic and grit. Nor under SJ were they known for producing wave after wave of young player and not giving the management a penny to get on his desired players. He was never going to work out here especially without funds so I think giving him more time would have just delayed the inevitable.

Paul Heckingbottom seems a pretty underwhelming choice, what do you make of that one?

PH is likeable, honest and a great coach. Is he a manager that can take us back to the heights we previously had? On paper it’s not likely, but the players seem happier and the football has been improved since SJ so I am more than willing to give him a chance. I’m not sure I’m thrilled about the length of his (four year) contract though.

Good results so far though, what's he changed?

The atmosphere improvement can’t be ignored. A team that once again looks more together and showing more fight and drive will always work better than unhappy players shoehorned into systems and formations that do not suit their strengths.

Any January rumours doing the rounds? What does the team need?

The team needs improvement, at centre half and some older players need more competition. As for rumours no there aren’t any for incomings, as Prince Pr**k wants to make money not spend it so I expect zero incomes and a delayed fire sale.

Ins >>> Morgan Gibbs-White, 21, AM, Wolves, Loan >>> Conor Hourihane, 30, CM, Villa, Loan >>> Robin Olsen, 31, GK, Roma, Loan >>> Ben Davies, 26, CB, Liverpool, Loan >>> Adlene Guedioura, 35, AM, Unattached, Free

Outs >>> Aaron Ramsdale, 23, GK, Arsenal, £25m >>> Simon Moore, 31, GK, Coventry, Free >>> John Lundstram, 27, CM, Rangers, Free >>> Phil Jagielka, 38, CB, Derby, Free >>> Jack Rodwell, 30, CM, Western Sydney Wanderers, Free >>> Kean Bryan, 24, CB, Released >>> Jake Eastwood, 24, GK, Portsmouth, Loan >>> Max Lowe, 24, LB, Forest, Loan >>> Daniel Jebbison, 18, CF, Burton, Loan

Stand out players and weak links so far?
Billy Sharp continues to do what Billy Sharp does and that’s be a legend - leading scorer, most assists, what more can you say.
Our weakest link so far has been Olsen in goal, luckily he’s been out for the last two games and long may it continue.

Revised expectations for the season?
Same as before, under this board anything from fifth to fifteenth wouldn’t surprise me.

Links >>> Sheffield United official website >>> Bramall Lane ground guide >>> The Shoreham View – Contributor’s YouTube channel >>> S2 4SU – Message Board >>> Sheffield Star – Local Press

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TacticalR added 15:22 - Dec 11
Thanks to @TheShorehamView.

It seems promises were made to Jokanović that weren't delivered on. I saw an interview with Abdullah after Wilder left and he didn't strike me as someone who knew what he was doing.

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