Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted he doesn’t have time to worry about his future at Sheffield United with his full concentration on his current squad, speaking to The Star.
The comments come after the departures of Mick McCarthy, Markus Schopp and Neil Warnock in recent months, leaving Cardiff City, Barnsley and Middlesbrough respectively with the former two failing to live up to expectations.
Warnock’s departure came as a surprise to some after managing to guide his former side to three consecutive wins after the international break and most recently picking up a point against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, although Chris Wilder’s speedy suggests this was a pre-meditated change.
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Another man who could be under pressure if results fail to improve is Jokanovic, who has only been able to guide the Blades to five league wins from a possible 17 last term, failing to stop the South Yorkshire outfit’s decline at this stage and currently sitting 18th in the second-tier table.
Despite losing a key asset in Aaron Ramsdale during the summer in a £30m move to Arsenal, the retention of key players including Sander Berge and the strength of their squad has made their current position surprising, having been one of the favourites to secure a return to the Premier League.
Sitting a whopping 19 points adrift of the top two after just 17 games, the Serbian could be in real danger of losing his job unless he can turn United’s fortunes around and help his side to gain some form of consistency.
But this isn’t something the 53-year-old is fazed by, saying to the Sheffield Star: “This game is the story of sacked coaches.
“I don’t have the time to be thinking about this. I don’t think about this ever, because I don’t believe you can.
“The only thing I ever concentrate on is managing my team, and what we can do to try and make the team better. If it is not under my control, then why should I worry about that? I don’t, because it isn’t.
“We are not small time in my job. We are not worried about this situation.
“What I do worry about is my team, my club and my group. I believe I can grow up with this club and these players. Other things? No, I don’t worry about those.”
Jokanovic is spot on with this assessment. If he was a nervous wreck about losing his job, that would transfer through to the players and that wouldn’t help to improve their fortunes, so his calmness is exactly what the Blades need at this stage.
This will only help his side to prepare better mentally, as they try to adapt from a back three to a four.
A huge amount of mental strength will be needed to keep persevering as they make this transition from the Chris Wilder era, with United’s current boss remaining stubborn with his 4-2-3-1 system and the need to move away from the back three in a bid to halt their decline and secure a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Ultimately, the 53-year-old’s future at Bramall Lane is out of control so he can’t afford to think about that whilst his team are in such a tricky situation with their league form, although he may be reassured that his reputation will keep him in the job longer than most other managers.
Winning promotion with Watford and Fulham in the past, it’s clear he can take United back to where they want to be. But a revamp in the January window may be needed if he wants to stamp his authority on the team and embed his system effectively.