Sheffield United: Scott Parker is now ‘my rival’ says Slavisa Jokanovic

SLAVISA JOKANOVIC may profess to having an interest in the coaching development of someone he knows well in Scott Parker, but that will be on hold for 90 minutes tomorrow.

The Sheffield United chief appointed Parker, now managing joint Championship leaders Bournemouth, to his coaching staff in his time at Fulham and has watched his development intently since he left London.

The pair lock horns on the south coast tomorrow and Jokanovic has firmly cast aside any ‘Master versus Apprentice’ connotations.

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He said: “He has done a good job and he did before with Fulham and I am happy with his progress in his coaching career.

Slavisa Jokanovic manager of Sheffield United. Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“We have good relations, but he will do everything to win the game and I will do the same and that’s it.

“I have a good collaboration (with him) and he has grown up like a coach and is trying to make himself better every day.

“He was my captain (at Fulham) and was then my assistant and he is now my rival and it is part of the work. For me, it is not difficult and won’t be for him and it is normal.

“We are in some competition and we both want to win. More or less, he knows the philosophy of how I want to play the game and my targets to achieving it in a game.

“He will follow a lot of the things we made all together and he may try and find my style with different players. But now he is my rival.

“Of course, he will try and check our weaknesses and I will try and see the weakness of the opposite team. This is a natural thing.

“I am not thinking about Scott Parker, but a Scott Parker team.”

Another reunion tomorrow could see fit-again Blades striker Lys Mousset face his former club, having left the Cherries to join United in 2019.

The Frenchman had been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the opening-day defeat to Birmingham City at Bramall Lane – which represented a major downer after a positive pre-season.

Jokanovic added: “Lys had a really good pre-season after a lot of effort after some barriers before when he was not so happy.

“He showed an attitude that he wanted to improve, but we lost him in the first game.

“After working alone and in the physio room, he comes back onto the pitch and starts to work with the team. He has collaborated and in this way, he is strong enough to be a really important player for the team.”