Sheffield United manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, has explained his decision not to bring either Rhian Brewster or Oli McBurnie on during last night’s defeat at Middlesbrough.
The Blades boss opted to bring on Conor Hourihane with just shy of 15 minutes to play at The Riverside after earlier introducing David McGoldrick at the halftime break. Jokanovic had already used his second sub, withdrawing a tired looking Enda Stevens.
McGoldrick did allow United to push on a bit. It left the midfield a bit exposed – what was left of it anyway – and Didzy was unlucky to score with a late effort.
But the 77th minute introduction of Hourihane raised eyebrows among some Blades supporters. Jokanovic, however, explained his reasoning for the decision.
“To be honest I expected we could find something from the second line with how they defend in the second half. In the end I was more thinking if I try with Rhian Brewster to try and run into the spaces,” the Serbian coach explained.
“But in the end I tried with Conor. Looking to put some balls in behind of them or looking for set-pieces or some shots around the box. What I missed today was us attacking the spaces.”
Hourihane had minimal impact on the game as Middlesbrough simply shut up shop in the closing stages. The loss, then, another lesson for this Sheffield United side.
Our View: Time for more minutes for Brewster and McBurnie
While dropping Billy Sharp on the form he’s been in would be a harsh decision, there has to come a point where the others step up.
Of course, this on the likes of Brewster, McBurnie and McGoldrick to do so and show they can be a top Sheffield United striker.
Jokanovic’s explanation on Hourihane is fair enough. He has to make big decisions and probably felt the Irishman could nick us something. But the likes of Brewster will be getting frustrated, especially sitting out when we are 2-0 down.
For what it’s worth, Sharp did have a poor game. Sol Bamba had him in the pocket, and the experienced Blades legend did struggle. Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth seems made for Oli McBurnie.
Brewster, too, will be hoping to get some of the action as well on the coast.