Slavisa Jokanovic's challenge to his Sheffield United side as date for Barnsley derby is changed

Slavisa Jokanović has urged his Sheffield United players not to waste the positive momentum they have generated since the international break after admitting there is still a “gap” between the level his side are playing at, and what he knows they are capable of.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:03 pm

After picking up only two points from their opening five matches of the Championship season, United are now unbeaten in six 90-minute games in all competitions after going out of the Carabao Cup on penalties to Southampton in midweek.

Buoyed by the addition of Morgan Gibbs-White on deadline day and the introduction of Iliman Ndiaye, plus a lift in form of a number of previously below-par key players, there are promising signs that things are finally starting to come together under Jokanović.

Next up for the Blades is a home clash with crisis club Derby County, who are staring administration – and a 12-point penalty – in the face as their financial woes continue.

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But on the pitch, Wayne Rooney’s men appear to be coping well with the adversity, following up a creditable goalless draw with West Brom last midweek with victory over Stoke at the weekend.

And Jokanović said: “I have said many times, and I will repeat again, that I am coaching a really good group of players.

“I know what I have on my hands; a good team. But we can still be better, and that is the challenge for me and for my players as well.

“We are still in the process. We have seen progress but it is not enough. I believe a gap exists and we must keep going forward.

Slavisa Jokanovic, manager of Sheffield United talks with lliman Ndiaye: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“We need to use this positive momentum. We have found better performances and positive results but we have not achieved anything yet.

“We must not stop, or start thinking we have done something. We are not at a good enough level yet. We have improved but we can still be better.”

Meanwhile, United’s South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley at Oakwell next month has been switched to a Sunday kick-off, at the request of South Yorkshire Police.

Originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, October 23 at 3pm, the derby will now kick-off at 12.30pm on Sunday, October 24.