02 July 2021

New Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic refuses to target instant promotion

02 July 2021

Sheffield United’s new manager Slavisa Jokanovic refused to target an instant return to the Premier League when unveiled to the media on Friday evening at Bramall Lane.

Jokanovic, appointed as Chris Wilder’s permanent successor at the end of May, has won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship with both Watford and Fulham.

But the 52-year-old Serbian promised “evolution not revolution” at Bramall Lane following the Blades’ relegation from the English top flight.

Jokanovic said: “I’m not talking about promotion because ahead of me is a lot of hard work and we will see at the end of April or the beginning of May where we are.

“I’m not under any pressure. It’s simple. The messages (given) to me (by the club). I’m a very good observer. I know what people want. I’m ready for the challenge.”

Wilder left the Blades in March after guiding them from League One to the Premier League in the space of three seasons during his four-and-a-half-year spell in charge.

Jokanovic, who is hoping to strengthen his inherited squad, guided Watford to promotion in 2015 as runners-up to Bournemouth and in 2018 led Fulham to the top flight via the play-offs.

“We will need some fresh blood,” he said. “We definitely need some help from outside, but there is a lot of quality and a lot of character already in the squad.

“It’s a question of evolution, not revolution. These players have shown they can fight at a different level and they need to do it one time more.

“One of the reasons I came here was because I trust that these players can make me successful and I will demand and I will push and I am ready to force them to make us all successful.

“If one day they can trust in me, this could be very good news for all of us.”

Jokanovic said he will do all he can to keep Blades pair Aaron Ramsdale and Sander Berge at Bramall Lane.

Goalkeeper Ramsdale, currently in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, and Norway international Berge have both been linked with summer moves to Arsenal among other clubs.

“Nobody is leaving at the moment,” Jokanovic said. “I didn’t come here to sell the players. I came here to spend money and to fight with all my power to be successful.

“Listen, they are my players. I have some information from the club’s side about Sander Berge. I can accept this guy is a very good player.

“These guys are very expensive players and I want to coach them. We will see what will happen.”

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