This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Championship side Sheffield United and ex-manager Slavisa Jokanovic have parted company, the club has confirmed this afternoon.
Enduring a tough start to life at Bramall Lane, going winless in his opening five Championship fixtures in charge of the Blades, their inconsistency after that has prevented them from making big strides up the second-tier table.
They currently sit in an underwhelming 16th position with 19 league games played, recording just five clean sheets and had struggled to adapt to the Serbian’s 4-2-3-1 system after being accustomed to playing three centre-backs under former boss Chris Wilder.
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After the most recent international break, the 53-year-old opted to switch up his formation and reverted to a three at the back once again, keeping consecutive clean sheets against Coventry City and Reading and even managing to grab a winner against the latter on Tuesday night through Jayden Bogle.
This makes the timing of his departure particularly interesting, seemingly getting back on track with his players looking more comfortable in their most recent formation and still sitting just eight points off the play-offs at this stage.
Paul Heckingbottom has been announced as his successor, taking the reins permanently having previously been appointed interim boss back in March after Wilder’s departure.
Focusing more on Jokanovic though and combining the positives and negatives of his premiership, was this really the right decision from the Blades to part ways with the Serbian?
We asked three of our writers at Football League World to deliver their verdict on this key talking point.
This feels like something of a surprising move from Sheffield United in all honesty.
Admittedly, the Blades on the whole are some way short of where they really ought to be in the Championship table this season.
But given Jokanovic only came in later in the summer, and the fact that the club’s business did not get going until the final few weeks of the market, you feel he has not really been given the chance to mould the squad in the way he wants it at Bramall Lane.
Indeed, given Jokanovic’s pedigree in terms of winning promotion from this level, and the fact that Saturday’s second-half performance against Coventry, combined with Tuesday’s win at Reading offered a glimmer of hope, the decision to let him go now is arguably a strange one.
I am a little shocked by Sheffield United’s decision to part company with Slavisa Jokanovic but there is no denying that they have been under-achieving under the Serb’s guidance.
The Blades possess a squad that is worthy of competing for the automatic spots, and it is easy to forget that they still have the core group of players who were operating in the top half of the Premier League last season.
The fact that he was hovering in 16th place with a squad like he had was certainly not a good look and that is enough rationale to decide upon.
The strange aspect to all of this is that Sheffield United have picked up four points from their last two games, without conceding a goal.
Whilst two games is not enough to say that he had turned things around, it would have been interesting to see if that was the start of Jokanovic getting things right.
Jokanovic has also taken a while to get going in previous jobs but once his team start firing, they tend to be difficult to stop.
I do understand why Sheffield United have parted company with Jokanovic, but I do not fully agree with the timing.
This is a puzzling decision by Sheffield United as Jokanovic has simply not been given enough time to get the players to adapt to his style of play.
When you consider that the Serbian previously made a relatively slow start to his spell at Fulham before guiding the club to promotion in his third season in charge of the club, he would have fancied his chances of transforming the Blades’ fortunes.