Sheffield United: Blades boss makes a surprising claim following West Ham clash
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, described his team's draw with West Ham as a "bigger" result than the victory over Arsenal five days earlier after watching Lys Mousset's strike consolidate their position in the top half of the Premier League table.
United travelled to east London on the back of their most eye-catching result of the season so far, when another goal from the Frenchman saw them claim one of the most prized scalps in the competition.
But Wilder, who admitted the performance against Unai Emery's side had taken "a lot", both mentally and physically out of United, insisted the manner of their comeback at West Ham had answered questions about his squad's character.
"For me, this was a bigger result that Arsenal," Wilder said. "I was interested to see how, after doing what they did against Arsenal, the lads would react coming away to West Ham. And I mean that the right way, with absolute respect.
"There were times when they had to dig in, because we didn't start well and there's no point pretending otherwise because I'm not going to dress things up. But they stayed strong, stayed in there and stuck with it. So for me, they answered a lot of questions people from the outside might have had about them. I think getting something out of this, against quality opposition established at the highest level and being away from home, that tells you something about their mentality."
Despite scoring the winner against Arsenal, Mousset started the visit to West Ham on the bench as he continues his journey towards full fitness following a summer move from AFC Bournemouth. But after being summoned early in the second-half, Mousset made another telling impact; producing a superb finish to cancel-out Robert Snodgrass' opener. Although he conceded Mousset had been "a little bit behind" when he arrived at Bramall Lane - something United's coaching staff attribute to the protracted nature of his transfer - Wilder suggested the former Le Havre marksman could enjoy a more prominent role when Burnley make the journey to South Yorkshire on Saturday.
"It was a big one for me, personally, seeing how my team would go," Wilder said. "What would the reaction be?
"That's why it was a bigger result for me personally, seeing how the boys would go. That's why this was huge, even though we've not won."
"We've kept that record going," Wilder, whose players have not lost away from home since January, added. "We've shown bags of character and desire."