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Slavisa Jokanovic explains controversial call from Sheffield United player

Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic has explained his decision to leave Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie on the bench on Tuesday night against Middlesbrough, despite his side chasing a goal to return to the game.

Billy Sharp, understandably, led the line for the Blades after enjoying decent form before the game.

However, the Blades were down 2-0 against Boro in the opening 45 minutes, looking for a goal to get back into the game.

Despite Brewster and McBurnie being on the bench, Jokanovic persisted with Sharp, knocking Conor Hourihane and David McGoldrick off the bench, along with Rhys Norrington-Davies.

Defending his decision, Jokanovic explained (via The star): “The moment we have chosen how we want to play, they have to trust and work hard and wait for the moment when I need them, and they have to be ready for that moment.

“It’s my decision who I choose, I tried to move around and find a way to get back into the game so I made the decision to use players. I thought about McBurnie and Rhian but I took a different option, but I could use them in the games ahead of us.

While he hasn’t used Brewster or McBurnie against Boro, Jokanovic has suggested their involvement may be imminent, insisting he’s working with a squad rather than 11 players.

He continued, “I don’t just coach 11 players. The questions are normal but I have to make my decision for the games ahead, we will take what we think is the best decision for the team.

The defeat at Boro was Sheffield United’s first since the international break in September. They travel to the south coast on Saturday to face AFC Bournemouth.

The verdict

It was interesting to see Jokanovic completely forgetting two forwards on Tuesday night who could have given him a goal.

You can’t suggest that was a certainty, as Brewster and McBurnie haven’t convinced much since arriving at Bramall Lane, but they would have offered more threat than someone like Norrington-Davies.

It was certainly a decision some fans didn’t like and, if Jokanovic had his time again, he might do things differently.

Sharp needs some support and there are two players at Brewster and McBurnie who can give him that. Jokanovic just needs to start trusting them.

Thoughts? Let us know!

Quiz: Have Sheffield United ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?

They finished in the first half of the Premier League table

Yes

No


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