Sheffield United full-back George Baldock has cited manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s attention to detail as a major reason why he is confident the Blades will escape their inconsistency and push up the Championship table, as he spoke to The Star.
Emerging as many peoples’ favourites to go straight back up to the Premier League at the first time of asking after the appointment of Jokanovic in May, it was perhaps a shock to see the South Yorkshire side continue from where they left off last season and spend their first set of games in the Championship near the bottom of the table.
Although the Serbian reportedly described his squad as the best he’s inherited in England over previous sides Watford and Fulham, both of whom he was promoted with, their lack of recruitment until the final few days of the summer window proved to be detrimental to the Blades as they won just two points from a possible 15 in their opening five league matches of this campaign.
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They did recover well after the international break, going unbeaten in their first four games of September but have seen two recent losses heavily disrupt the momentum they had as they looked to climb up the second-tier table.
Previously tipped as title contenders, they can no longer even be considered promotion candidates at this stage of the season with their inconsistency, sitting way down in 14th after consecutive defeats.
One man who is more optimistic about their chances is right-back George Baldock, who has full faith in Slavisa Jokanovic to deliver with his scrupulous attention to detail with his squad, saying to the Sheffield Star: “The small details, he’s massive on those. But it’s those small details that make you become better at what you do.
“I’m really loving the fact that he makes you think so much about what you are doing and I know all of the other lads do as well.
“I know people don’t want to hear it but we’re not far off it, genuinely we can feel it.
“This is a tough division to get out of, as we know. But we’ll get there and we’ll be okay. The level of detail the gaffer and his staff put in is something else and that will pay off.”
It would be no surprise to see Sheffield United near the top of the table when next May comes around.
They may be struggling for consistency at this moment in time, but it’s still early days for Slavisa Jokanovic and the Blades will only get better under his stewardship, sitting just six points off a play-off spot as things stand.
There should be no reason for panic at this moment in time. They may not be promotion contenders at this point, but there’s plenty of time for them to get back into the mix and the likes of Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane will only help in their quest to get there.
Having an experienced man like Billy Sharp up top can only be a benefit as well with other strikers misfiring over the past 12 months, with a strong backline at their disposal in the form of Baldock, Enda Stevens, Ben Davies, John Egan and others for competition.
The depth the Blades have in certain areas will be a major benefit, but there are definitely areas for them to improve on in the January transfer window to strengthen their promotion push, with a winger and potentially another centre-back likely to be on the agenda.