When Slavisa Jokanovic walks out at Bramall Lane, the sight of a packed house won’t surprise him, given his experiences of Sheffield United already.
The Serbian is well aware what the atmosphere inside Bramall Lane can be like. He witnessed it himself with Fulham. A stunning 5-4 win for his Cottagers side back in 2017 gave Jokanovic a taste of what it can be like ‘under the lights’ in S2.
Tonight, he welcomes Birmingham City to Sheffield, looking to get the best possible start to his Sheffield United career. Jokanovic knows a good start is key, especially to rally the fans. Some of whom are still hurting from the departure of Chris Wilder.
Wilder’s work and impression left on the club cannot be measured. We all know that, and so does Jokanovic. But the new Blades boss is also his own man, and he’s insisted it’s time to move on and do things his way.
“Chris made a fantastic job for this team, for this club. But now Chris is past. I am the present and future too. I arrive here like a new face, I ask them to impress me and I will chose what is best for my team,” Jokanovic told The Times.
“I don’t feel any pressure over Chris. I know him. I know his work. Chris is gone. Like one day I will be out. He’s a local man. I’ll find him some place in Sheffield.”
Jokanovic, then, seems keen to get down to business. And that business is winning football matches.
The last week or two has seen Jokanovic become more confident when it comes to the media. He seems to have got comfortable at The Lane and it’s starting to show through.
The players also seem onboard. Ben Osborn said in midweek that everyone has been impressed with Jokanovic. We will, of course, get a full glimpse of how things are going come 8pm tonight.
Jokanovic’s words on Wilder are interesting, too. He is not being disrespectful, and he appreciates Wilder’s work. But, this is his Sheffield United now, and one he wants everyone to get behind.
And starting with Birmingham tonight, the Blades fans will do just that.