Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Sheffield United: 'It could have been more,' admits Chris Wilder
A fifth goal in as many Premier League starts for Lys Mousset helped Sheffield United secure a creditable point at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Chris Wilder’s side had chances to extend their lead after the centre-forward’s early finish, with David McGoldrick drawing a smart save before Matt Doherty equalised for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
So although the final scoreline will have been tinged with frustration, Wilder acknowledged it also illustrated the progress his squad has made since being promoted last term.
“I don’t want to be greedy,” he said. “But we were disappointed not to take all three points, even against a very good side who I have a lot of respect for.
“It’s a good result for us. But we always want to drive it forward and, even though they could have maybe nicked it at the end, we felt we could have been in a slightly stronger position by then.”
United had worked all week to try and ensure Mousset was passed fit to start this game. That investment, despite Oli McBurnie’s return to goal-scoring form against their namesakes from Manchester last weekend, paid off as early as the second minute when the Frenchman scored his fifth of the season.
Leander Dendoncker and Doherty gave him a helping hand, both trying and failing to clear the same ball. But when it fell at Mousset’s feet inside the penalty area, he picked his spot perfectly and guided a low shot past Rui Patricio and into the bottom left-hand corner of the Portuguese’s net. The connection appeared imperfect. But the placement was superb.
When their heads cleared, Wolves began to pose the type of problems United had suspected they would. Adama Traore, whose hulking frame moves with surprising grace, saw a deflected attempt spin wide before Dean Henderson, one of two changes to the visitors’ starting eleven, acrobatically denied Raul Jiminez. The other - centre-half John Egan - did well to hack clear from the resulting corner.
Although there were moments of promise from United, the rest of the half belonged to the hosts.
Still, it was not until a bizarre decision to refer Chris Basham’s 35th minute clearance to VAR that Wilder’s men felt under serious pressure. Indeed, for all the possession Wolves enjoyed, it was United who went closest to scoring again when first Enda Stevens and then Mousset were thwarted by Patricio at the near post.
A bright start to the second-half should have got even brighter when David McGoldrick found himself in space but could not beat the Wolves goalkeeper, before Mousset also sliced high and wide.
“David was disappointed not to score,” Wilder said. “But we play better with him in the team and, bigger picture, I’ve told him that. He’s great for us.”
Wolves took advantage of those reprieves when Doherty turned home Jiminez’s 64th minute cross at the far post, sparking frantic celebrations among Nuno Espirito Santo and his coaching staff.
“They (United) are very good,” Nuno said. “So I was pleased we stayed in it and competed until the very end.”
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio, Doherty, Neves, Jiminez, Coady, Jota, Jonny, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Traore, Kilman. Not used: Ruddy, Vallejp, Neto, Cutrone, Vinagre, Otasowie, Cundle.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Stevens, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Lundstram (L Freeman 90), McGoldrick (McBurnie 72), Mousset (Robinson 86). Not used: Moore, L Freeman, Sharp, Robinson, Jagielka, Besic.
Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).