'He needs to do better!' Chris Wilder fires stark warning to Lys Mousset ahead of Chelsea clash

Lys Mousset has been warned he must “do more” in order to cement a regular place in Sheffield United's starting eleven, after Chris Wilder revealed he is still waiting for the centre-forward to unlock his true potential.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 4:55 pm

After being summoned from the bench during Wednesday’s victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, as coaching staff unveiled a new attacking partnership between him and Richairo Zivkovic, Mousset will be hoping for a more prominent role when Chelsea visit Bramall Lane this weekend.

Wilder admitted the duo’s pace could make them lethal double act during the closing weeks of the campaign. But, as preparations for Saturday’s crucial Premier League fixture continue to gather pace, United’s manager confirmed he is yet to be satisfied the Frenchman is doing everything he can to harness his talents.

“Lys needs to do more and he needs to do better,” Wilder told The Star, despite declaring himself broadly satisfied with Mousset’s performance against Wolves. “When he has an opportunity, he needs to take it.

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“We can do everything we can for him but he’s also got to help himself. The boys are desperate for him to do well.

“He’s contributed out there. But there’s more to come from him. A lot more as far as I’m concerned, and Lys is the only one who can make sure that we all see it.”

Mousset, aged 24, cost around £10m when he joined United from AFC Bournemouth during the close season following their promotion from the Championship. After initially struggling for fitness - something Wilder initially attributed to the protracted nature of his move before later dropping the pretence when he eventually became available for selection - Mousset scored five times in 10 outings before a series of personal issues began to affect his form. Last week’s goal against Tottenham Hotspur was his first since December 1.

Although Wilder expressed sympathy for the player at the time, he is concerned the ruthless nature of top-flight competition means United need Mousset to be firing on all cylinders - both during the final four games of the 2019/20 schedule and when they attempt to build upon the progress they have made next term.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (right) and Lys Mousset react after the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield: Jason Cairnduff/NMC Pool/PA Wire.

United climbed to seventh in the table, nine points behind third-placed Chelsea, following John Egan’s late winner over Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

“Lys can definitely do it,” Wilder said. “We all know what he’s got in his locker and what he’s capable of.”

The sight of Mousset and Zivkovic, on loan from Changchun Yatai, working alongside each other in attack was an exciting and significant development given the pace the two players possess. It is a quality United have been accused of lacking in attack since securing top-flight status 15 months ago, and one which, if harnessed correctly, could prove lethal - particularly during the closing stages of contests, when defences tire.

Although Zivkovic has been informed United will not be triggering the buy-out clause they negotiated with his parent club, the Dutchman’s willingness to remain in England and complete the fixture programme is known to have impressed Wilder. Intriguingly, the 52-year-old now speaks in much more oblique terms whenever Zivkovic’s future is discussed - suggesting the one-time Ajax striker could be invited to prolong his stay in England again if the Chinese club are prepared to renegotiate the conditions of the agreement they brokered in January.

Sheffield United's Lys Mousset is a player of huge potential, according to Chris Wilder: Clive Brunskill/Pool Photo via AP

Like many other teams in the division, United have been forced to recalculate their recruitment budget because of the financial fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic - which forced competition to be suspended for a three month period in March.

“It’s been difficult for Rich,” Wilder said. “I accept that, because of everything that’s happened and because of the form of others.”

United hope to welcome David McGoldrick back into the fold ahead of their assignment against Chelsea, as the Republic of Ireland international continues to undergo treatment on a foot problem. Although not prolific, McGoldrick’s positional sense and ability to weave together passages of play could prove effective against a defence which, despite the Londoners’ impressive sequence of results since returning to action, has proven more porous than Frank Lampard would like.

“It’s nothing too serious,” Wilder replied, when asked to rate McGoldrick’s chances of taking part in the game. “We’re hopeful Didzy will be okay. We’ll assess him beforehand and then go from there, but we think he should be alright.”

Chris Wilder with Richairo Zivkovic, following the striker's arrival at Sheffield United from Changchun Yatai: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

If McGoldrick is declared available for selection, it will enable Wilder to continue with his policy of rotating United’s frontline in order to keep its members fit and fresh. There were fears Oli McBurnie had succumbed to injury when he was withdrawn early in the second period of the clash with Wolves, although Wilder later explained it had been a precautionary measure.

“Oli was looking a little big leggy and that’s understandable, given the work the lads have been putting in of late,” Wilder said. “We had the ability to make the change and so we did.

“We’re stretched, as everyone knows, and we need as many people at our disposal as possible because we’ve got some really more tough games coming up.

“Oli was just a little bit tired, that’s all, so we thought it was best to do what we did.”

United face Leicester City and Everton before completing the season with a trip to Southampton on July 26.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers' French defender Willy Boly (L) vies with Sheffield United's French striker Lys Mousset tussle for the ball at Bramall Lane on Wednesday evening: PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images