Slavisa Jokanovic left to lament Sheffield United's slow start in 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough

Slavisa Jokanović was left to lament his Sheffield United side’s “slow” start as they lost 2-0 at Middlesbrough to suffer their first defeat in six Championship games.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:30 pm
Morgan Gibbs-White of Sheffield United has a shot on goal: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

The Blades didn’t really get going at the Riverside and went down to first-half goals from Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair in front of the Sky cameras. Iliman Ndiaye hit the post and substitute David McGoldrick forced a stunning save from Boro goalkeeper Joe Lumley, but that was as close as Jokanović’s side got.

“We didn’t play a good game,” the Serb admitted.

“Especially our start was so slow. They won all the challenges, they had energy and power, and we weren’t comfortable.

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“We played a lot of balls backwards and didn’t find the space to turn. We expected that situation but I thought we could find the spaces and try and be more dangerous.

“They were stronger than us and we found it difficult. We had some situations to come back in the game but it wasn’t enough and we couldn’t score the goal to come back.

“It's not a question of confidence today, it was a hard, physical game and they beat us in that aspect. They scored two and could have scored more, we didn’t have enough knowledge. There was an improvement in the second 45 minutes but it wasn’t enough.”

Jokanović’s side return to action this weekend when they make the trip to promotion-chasing Bournemouth.

“They were strong and quick and winning a lot of second balls more than us,” Jokanović added on Boro.

“We have some plan to try and attack but it wasn’t successful. We showed some improvement but not enough.”