With Slavisa Jokanovic’s Sheffield United side heading into Tuesday night’s Championship clash on a decent run of form, with the Blades picking up 11 points over their last five league fixtures, the 53-year-old manager would have undoubtedly been hoping his team could continue their climb up the second tier standings against Middlesbrough.
However, two first-half goals by Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair were enough for Boro to seal all three points at the Riverside Stadium, with the 2-0 loss rather considerably taking the wind out of Sheffield United’s sails.
And, as is to be expected after such a result, a number of the United players turned in disappointing performances in the fixture, with Oliver Norwood, John Fleck and Robin Olsen all receiving SofaScore match ratings of 6.5 or under, however, it will undoubtedly be Enda Stevens most frustrated with his display on Tuesday.
Over his 69 minutes on the pitch, the Blades left-back did very little to convince Jokanovic that he should keep his place in the starting XI ahead of Rhys Norrington-Davies for the club’s trip to Bournemouth this Saturday.
Indeed, the £3.15m-rated 31-year-old failed with his two attempted dribbles, his three attempted long balls and his two attempted crosses, as well as ceding possession of the ball on 15 separate occasions for his side.
The man the BladesPod podcast once dubbed a “poor” player also lost five of his seven duels – a failure rate of 71% – gave away two fouls, picked up a yellow card and was dribbled past by an opponent once.
These metrics saw the £32k-per-week Republic of Ireland international receive an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.0, with no player from either side earning a lower rating than the defender.
As such, it would indeed appear unlikely that Stevens will retain his place in Jokanovic’s starting XI for the trip to the Vitality Stadium this weekend, especially as Norrington-Davies looked much more impressive after replacing the 31-year-old in the second half of the loss at Middlesbrough.