After being unveiled as Sheffield United’s new manager in July, Slavisa Jokanovic warned expectant supporters that it would take some time to implement his methods.
‘Patience’ was the buzzword of Jokanovic’s first few weeks at Bramall Lane.
“We have to show patience,” Jokanovic told the Sheffield Telegraph. “We want to refresh things a bit. We think it’s needed and that it’s necessary.
“But we do need to have patience.”
Four months on, that ‘patience’ appears to have run out.
According to the Sheffield Star, Jokanovic will be sacked on Thursday afternoon. His Sheffield United – a team who were expected to challenge Fulham and Bournemouth at the top of the table – are mired in 16th place, as close to the relegation zone as they are to the play-offs.
Jokanovic famously endured a difficult start to life at Fulham too.
His Cottagers side won just four of their first 17 Championship games in 2017/18. Flash forward to May, however, and they were swigging champagne on the Wembley turf, striding through a tsunami of golden confetti to lift the play-off trophy as a despondent Aston Villa watched on from below.
We’ll never know whether Jokanovic could have sparked a similar turnaround at Sheffield United.
The fact is that one of the Championship’s most talented squads – one filled to bursting with proven second-tier stars and players who were dreaming of European qualification as recently as 2020 – have underperformed dramatically under the Serbian tactician.
Will Oli McBurnie ever get his Rangers move?
Oli McBurnie, for example, has failed to score a single goal in 12 league games this term, although he’s hardly been a regular starter.
The last time McBurnie was plying his trade in the second tier, he hit the target 22 times for Swansea City before sealing a £20 million move to South Yorkshire.
As recently as May, the Sheffield Star even reported that Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, fresh from celebrating their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade, were tempted to part with a club-record £15 million to bring a boyhood Gers fanatic to Ibrox.
Wolves tried to sign him too, on deadline day, only for the transfer window to slam shut on their fingers. Wolverhampton Wanderers ran out of time and McBurnie was stuck at Sheffield United (Telegraph).
These days, the Premier League feels like a long way away – for both McBurnie and Sheffield United.