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Slavisa Jokanovic blames officials as Sheffield United lose out to Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth v Sheffield United – Sky Bet Championship – Vitality Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic blamed poor officiating for his side’s 2-1 defeat at unbeaten Bournemouth.

United looked set to become the first side to topple Scott Parker’s Cherries in the league this season after Morgan Gibbs-White gave them a deserved 56t- minute lead.

But two goals in the space of four minutes – a penalty from Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing’s strike – saw the Cherries come from behind to claim top spot in the Sky Bet Championship.

United chief Jokanovic was not happy with referee Robert Jones and his assistants for either of the goals.

Jokanovic said: “I am simply not blind. It was two joke decisions for both goals.

“I saw on the field that the challenge was outside the box and have seen it on TV since. The second goal was clearly offside.

“The officials put Bournemouth back in the game, it is as simple as this. If you ask me what I think, this is expensive. I’m not an average guy.

“Both teams worked hard. It was a quick pitch and we did not connect a lot in the middle.

“Bournemouth tried, like us, to exchange a few passes. They pressed us a lot in the first 45 minutes and we had a problem with the build-up. They had the same problem.

“There were a few chances for us and for them. The second 45 minutes was a better game, played with a lot of energy. We scored and they scored too.

“At the end of the day my team played better than Bournemouth, who are one of the best teams in the Championship.”

Gibbs-White broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the second half, sliding in to rifle home his third Blades goal after Billy Sharp had pulled the ball back.

Bournemouth were gifted the chance to level six minutes later when Enda Stevens was adjudged to have brought down Solanke.

TV replays showed the tackle took place outside the box but Solanke rifled home from 12 yards.

The game was turned on its head three minutes later as Billing calmly side-footed Bournemouth into the lead from 12 yards after being teed up by Ryan Christie.

Bournemouth boss Parker praised the character his young side showed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and make it 11 league games unbeaten.

Parker said: “I have been here now for three months and every day I am learning something different.

“We had a bit of adversity today. That was the first time we have been behind this season but the reaction of the players to that pleased me greatly.

“After we scored the penalty, I saw a group of men wanting to grab the ball, put it in the centre-circle and go and win.

“We are going to need that mindset and that mentality throughout the year as we will go behind many times in the future.

“We are top of the table, undefeated, but we realise there is a lot of football to play.

“At the end we had to defend and grind it out. The players really at that point stood up and we managed to see out the game.”

Parker also praised Solanke for keeping a calm head before converting the penalty.

He said: “It was definitely a foul but I am hearing maybe it was outside the box. I have not seen it back. Dom needed to be cool in that moment to score the goal.”