Sheffield United: 'There's always some a*******s, but this is why Lys Mousset is flying'
Explanations have ranged from the tactical to the fanciful but Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes there is a simple reason why Lys Mousset has made such an explosive start to his career at Bramall Lane.
“I think he’s found a home,” Wilder said, assessing the centre-forward’s performances. “The players love him, the supporters love him and, at the moment, I love him too.”
Mousset has secured a place in Wilder’s affections with a series of barnstorming performances, claiming four goals and three assists in his first 12 outings since completing a close season move from AFC Bournemouth. Following a frustrating spell under Eddie Howe at The Vitality Stadium, where he made only 19 starts in three years, the centre-forward’s displays have prompted some people to speculate why he was used so sparingly on the south coast, with the system and strategies Howe employs offered as potential reasons.
“We’ve known about Lys for some time,” Wilder said, acknowledging his friend and counterpart in Dorset had provided Mousset with a glowing character reference.
“In every industry, you always get some a*******s but Eddie and Jason (Tindall, Howe’s assistant) are good guys.
“We’ve not done anything dramatically different with Lys. But there were good people in front of him down there, Callum Robinson and Josh King, and there’s only so many times when they can say to Lys ‘be patient, your time will come.’ He’s different to what we’ve got.
“I don’t want to see his face, even though he’s a good looking kid. I just want to see the number on his back and that’s what I’m seeing at the moment.”
That throw-away comment strikes at the heart of Mousset’s rise to prominence in South Yorkshire. Wilder’s philosophy, which emphasises the importance of intelligent but direct football, undoubtedly suits Mousset who counts pace and power among his greatest weapons.
Mousset was in danger of missing tomorrow’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers after damaging a hamstring during last weekend’s draw with Manchester United.
But Wilder, whose side will climb above their fifth-placed opponents with a win, confirmed he is available for selection.
The speed of Mousset’s recovery suggests the advice he received earlier this term, when poor conditioning forced him to miss the opening three matches of the campaign, has been taken on board.
Speaking at the time, United’s coaching staff attributed Mousset’s lack of fitness to the protracted nature of £10m transfer. Privately, however, they also told the striker to accept some personal responsibility.
“We had to work on him, to lose a bit,” Wilder said. “But he’s also had to do the work himself.
“He can do all of that, but if he goes home and fills his face with McDonald’s and Haribos then it’s going to be a struggle isn’t it.”