Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted he believes his side may be punished by a higher-quality level of opposition if they perform like they did away at Hull City yesterday afternoon, speaking in an interview with Yorkshire Live.
The Blades finally managed to put the game to bed in the 61st minute against the Tigers through Billy Sharp’s early goal and John Egan’s second-half brace, before 20-year-old Kean Lewis-Potter pulled one back for the home side late, although it was too little too late for a side that are now plying their trade in the relegation zone.
Despite winning 4-1 at Preston North End on the opening day of the season, getting off to the best possible start on their return to the Championship after operating under a transfer embargo, Grant McCann’s men have struggled ever since, taking just two points from a possible 21 since then.
24 questions about some of Sheffield United’s best ever strikers – Can you get 100% correct?
Sheffield United, on the other hand, started the campaign in the worst possible manner, losing to Birmingham City on the opening day before failing to win any of their first five league games and going into the international break on a low after a torrid season in the Premier League last term.
However, they have taken seven points from a possible nine since the interval and now look in much better shape for the rest of the campaign.
Love the EFL? Want to share your opinions about your club? Get involved by subscribing to FLW TV on Youtube HERE!
Blades manager Jokanovic is demanding more from his players though, saying to Yorkshire Live after the Hull game: “It’s a good week behind of us, we have scored 11 goals and created a lot.
“But today I thought we were missing our killing spirit and a habit for not giving the opposition team chance to come back.
“A lot of the times we had the space to try and be more dangerous but we did not show enough intention to score the goal.
“In the end we did score the goals to win the game, but if you want to be fighting for the targets that we are fighting we need to grow up.
“We are in some kind of the process, but it’s not enough, we need to grow up and keep going forward.
“We need to show more. I miss the body language of my team. I came here to really win the game because we are the better team and I wanted to mark my territory.
“And I repeat, we have played one good game and with all my respects entirely Hull is not our rival for the targets that we are fighting and if we are only at this level today probably sometimes it won’t be enough for us.”
These latest comments from the 53-year-old just go to show how high his standards are, a bar Sheffield United players will need to meet if they want to get themselves back in contention after a poor start.
The South Yorkshire side were many peoples’ favourites for promotion after appointing a promotion-winning manager in Jokanovic, who has already managed to get Watford and Fulham to the Premier League in his managerial career.
His comments to the media have been spot on so far this season. He wasn’t too damning during their bad run of form, something that was needed to boost morale. But now they’re up and running, the Serbian is now starting to push his team further and with this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his side in and around the top six quite soon.
Just looking at the second-tier table, any team in the bottom half of the table that can string a few good results together could soon find themselves in the mix for the top six.
It’s all to play for, so nobody should be ruling out a Sheffield United side who have a manager of Jokanovic’s calibre at the helm. But consistency will be key and if they can continue to win games and avoid frustrating draws, anything could happen.