Sheffield United: Boss says only new signings can help his players regain confidence quickly after praising youngster

Slavisa Jokanovic has repeated his call for Sheffield United to sign more new players before the transfer market closes at the end of the month, after admitting his squad has been mentally scarred by its experiences in the Premier League last season.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 5:00 am

United have yet to win a game in the Championship this term, suffering a heart-breaking 94th minute defeat in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Town.

Jokanovic inherited a team which had lost 30 of its previous 43 games in all competitions when he officially started work at Bramall Lane on July 1st, telling his employers that a “refresh” was required in order to accelerate the healing process. Despite confirming the board of directors were of exactly the same opinion, acquiring defender Ben Davies on loan from Liverpool is the only piece of business United have so far completed since the window reopened.

Jokanovic, who has placed Manchester United winger Amad Diallo and a replacement for Arsenal-bound goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale at the top of his wanted list, told The Star: “We need a little bit of fresh blood and we need to find this kind of different thing. Fresh blood, we need it.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Slavisa Jokanovic watches the action unfold at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“We are talking about these people, (that) weren’t a part of last season.

“But I need all of the blood we have, all of the players we have, too. This is kind of the mix.

“This is a good group of players. They can give us a lot of positive things. You can’t change a squad in one transfer window but we are talking about numbers and names and we hope to find a way to bring some new blood in over the next few days.”

United dominated both territory and possession during the opening period of their game against Huddersfield, before Josh Koroma gave the visitors a second-half lead. Billy Sharp equalised in added time, and with United gathering momentum Jokanovic felt they would go on to claim victory. Instead, Levi Samuels Colwill, on loan from Chelsea, stunned United by sliding home with only seconds remaining.

Levi Colwill of Huddersfield Town is mobbed after scoring the winning goal: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Insisting they could take “positives” from their display, Jokanovic felt it was no surprise that Davies and Steelphalt Academy graduate Rhys Norrington-Davies, making his league debut for the club, were two of United’s most effective performers. Neither were part of the side which was demoted from the top-flight with six matches remaining, with Norrington-Davies spending the campaign with Stoke City and this weekend’s opponents Luton Town,

“Ben showed he is comfortable and experienced and he played a very good football game,” Jokanovic said. “Rhys was very good, comfortable on the ball. We can improve him a little more positionally. He brings speed and intensity, though and is a very good player I believe.”

United’s next outing comes tomorrow night, when they face Derby County in the second round of the Carabao Cup.

“The crowd tried to push the team and give us confidence to win the game,” Jokanovic added. “Billy Sharp scores which is a positive for us.

Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“But it was a really strange situation at the end of the game and we didn’t have the chance to lift the fans. From tomorrow morning, we need to keep working and keep our heads down. I hope we will be positive and fighting.”