Sheffield United have picked up just two points from their opening five matches back in the Championship and having only scored once in that time, plenty are concerned about whether the Blades can rally to build a promotion push this season.
Morgan Gibbs-White, Conor Hourihane and Robin Olsen put some gloss on what was an otherwise disappointing transfer window at Bramall Lane, with just four loan signings added to the squad.
Slavisa Jokanovic has endured a slow start before and still gone on to win promotion from the Championship on two occasions, however it would seem that Sheffield United may present his toughest test yet in attempting to guide them back to the Premier League.
With a losing mentality instilled in the squad from their crushing relegation last term, Jokanovic needs to add fresh ideas and a new way of thinking to pull the Blades out of this rut and into a purple patch.
Here, then, we take a look at three risks Slavisa Jokanovic should take to turn Sheffield United’s form around…
Give Rhian Brewster a run
The Liverpool academy graduate is clearly lacking in confidence and has only managed one goal for the club since his arrival in the summer of 2020.
Brewster already has pedigree at Championship level after a hugely impressive loan spell with Swansea City in 2019/20, if there is any player in their ranks, maybe with the exception of the unsettled Sander Berge, that is capable of inspiring the home crowd and rest of the squad out of this rot then it might be the 21-year-old.
It is tough for any striker to find some form when they are in and out of the team as much as Brewster has been, Jokanovic should put some faith in the youngster.
Ever since the Blades lost O’Connell to injury at the start of the 2020/21 season there has been a gaping hole in the side. The defensive reliability and attacking thrust he gave the side from left centre back, in a three, in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 campaigns was incredible.
The 27-year-old was staking a claim to be in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020 before it was postponed, and since his injury lay up the team have not looked the same.
His return date from injury is unclear but he is a player United have been crying out for such a long time with his ability to bring the ball out of defence. As soon as Jokanovic gets the green light, he should not hesitate to throw him in.
Three at the back
The Blades have looked much better in a three at the back system in their last two league matches and even though it is not a way of playing that Jokanovic is known for, it suits the squad at his disposal to a T.
They fell on the wrong side of very fine margins so many times last season, such that suggests their form will turn around eventually, playing to their strengths is paramount to get the most out of this squad and the 3-5-2 still feels like the way to go.
Their attacking process has picked up significantly since moving away from a back four and Jokanovic should recognise that and stick with the back three in the coming weeks.