Sheffield United: 'We expect a tough test against Stoke City - but they should expect one too' says manager Slavisa Jokanovic
Slavisa Jokanović admits he expects a difficult test when Stoke City come to Bramall Lane this weekend – but the Sheffield United manager knows that his Blades side can cause their fourth-placed visitors a few problems of their own, too.
Stoke have started the season in better fashion than Jokanović’s Blades, with an impressive 1-0 victory over fellow promotion chasers West Bromwich Albion last time out ensuring they went into the most recent international break just four points behind leaders Bournemouth.
The Blades are 14th after losing to the Cherries before the break, but felt hard done to at the Vitality Stadium after a pair of decisions from the officials went against them in a 2-1 defeat.
“Stoke have started very well,” Jokanović admitted.
“We checked a lot of their last game. They are physical and a strong team … the physical parts of their work is impressive.
“They combine well and score goals, they can be a real danger for us and have started better than us. It’s a good chance for us to take one step forward.”
Asked if he expects Stoke’s win over West Brom to have given them extra belief, the Serb added: “We are full of confidence too after the last game.
“I didn’t find any opponent yet without energy to fight against us but it’s a great challenge for them too, to play against Sheffield United.
“I am sure they will be focused on us, if they are still enjoying their last victory it can be good news for me but they have a really good coach with a lot of experience and I am sure this game is behind them.
“It’s a different style they will face against us than West Brom and I am sure they will be ready for the challenge.”
Jokanović confirmed that Sander Berge will not return to the United side for the Stoke game, having not featured for the Blades since pulling out of the warm-up ahead of United’s 3-1 win at Hull City last month.
“He won’t be available,” Jokanović said.
“He needs more time. The last time he stopped and started, but we need to start one time more and he won’t be available for the game.”