'Sheffield United are going to crumble? Don't believe it for a minute'
Sheffield United are equipped to cope with the fact they will be marked men in the Championship next season, one of the club’s most influential players has insisted, after admitting Slavisa Jokanovic’s side will begin the new campaign with a “target” on their backs.
Oliver Norwood, who worked under the Serb at Fulham before moving to Bramall Lane, cited the experience within Bramall Lane’s first team squad, coupled with the knowledge most of its members gained during their march into the Premier League two years ago, among the reasons behind his confidence.
Acknowledging that being viewed as one of the favourites to win the title will pose a different kind of the test to the ones United were forced to overcome under Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder when they were always viewed as the underdog, Norwood said: “We have to embrace it, because teams will be looking at us as a target. From personal experience, I know you always look at the teams who have just come down from the Premier League and you want to prove you are as goo if not better than them when you meet. That’s what’s going to happen to us.”
“But I definitely think we’ve got the people here who can handle that,” he added. “In fact I know it.
“They know what's coming, just like I do.”
Jokanovic, who officially took charge of United last week, delivered top-flight football to both Watford and Craven Cottage during his last spells in England before joining Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa.
The former Yugoslavia international’s pedigree, combined with the pedigree he has inherited, means United are expected to make an immediate return to the PL after being relegated three months ago.
Describing the previous campaign as challenging - with form and fitness both deserting United, who has finished ninth the season before - Norwood said: “People will look at us and see if there’s a hangover. We’ve got the players, and the experience I think, to deal with that.
“Last season was the first in what, five or six years, when there was no success at the club. But we have people here who can take that on their shoulders.”