Brighton v Sheffield United - Confidence major factor in Lys Mousset’s bid to reach target
Sheffield United can unwrap an early Christmas present today by creating a new Premier League record.
Chris Wilder’s Blades are currently unbeaten in their opening eight away games since returning to the top flight.
Their 2-1 win at Norwich City equalled the record of Kenny Daglish’s Blackburn Rovers team back in the Nineties.
Since the start of the Premier League era, no newly-promoted side has gone unbeaten in their first nine games.
But the Blades stand 90 minutes away from achieving that impressive feat.
If they do so, few would bet against French striker Lys Mousset adding to his five-goal tally this season at the Amex Stadium. After taking time to get fully fit after a summer move from Bournemouth, Mousset has been one of the star performers as United have defied all expectations to sit seventh in the table after the opening 17 games.
The 23-year-old has already netted at Everton, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers to extend United’s away day sequence this season.
Throw in goals at home to Arsenal and Manchester United and it is not a bad return on the Blades’ £10m summer investment.
“I have really enjoyed it,” said Mousset, who only netted five times in three years at Bournemouth. “The manager is different, Chris Wilder has given me a lot of confidence, and a lot of chances to play.
“I didn’t expect to have scored five goals, but had the chances to score.
“I was not fit enough to play (at the start) so I am positive to have five. I expect myself to get a lot more (fitter).
“I set a (goals) target to myself, but I am trying to do more.”
The former Le Havre youngster has formed an impressive partnership with David McGoldrick at Bramall Lane.
The latter may not have opened his own Premier League goals account this season, but McGoldrick’s unselfish work for the team makes him an integral member.
“It’s been very, very good,” Mousset explained, when asked about his partnership with the Republic of Ireland forward. “I am up the pitch, and he’s more in the middle to make the play. We really enjoy it.
“The team and manager are very good, I really like it here. It’s different to where I have been before. We are really together.
“Anything (is possible). We can achieve a really good season.
“This group is very together and everyone is enjoying it.”
Today’s trip to Brighton is the first of four games in 12 days, and if United are to extend that unbeaten away run any further, next up are trips to champions Manchester City and current leaders Liverpool.
Mousset believes the heavy workload will mean United have to utilise the full depth of their squad.
“We are going to try and win (at Brighton), do the best we can,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of games together (over festive period), players who are not playing maybe coming into the team, and I think they will do well.”
Today is the first time the two sides have met in 14 years, but it’s a return to Brighton for Wilder.
After a playing career which spanned spells with the Blades, Rotherham United and Bradford City, Wilder moved south to Brighton in 1999 – playing 11 games – before hanging up his boots as a Halifax Town player.
Brighton was a far different team back then, playing home games at Gillingham – after selling the Goldstone Ground – in the basement division of the Football League.
Wilder actually played in their first game back in Brighton, at the Withdean Stadium, a converted athletics track, in a 6-0 Division Three win over Mansfield Town.
Twenty years later Wilder and Brighton are reunited in the Premier League, both having had amazing journeys.
“It was always a big club and I made my debut against Brighton (for the Blades) way back in the day – 1986 I think it was,” he said.
“It’s always been a big club, it has a big catchment area and they love their football down there.
“You just can’t comprehend it really, your team is playing what – Gillingham to Brighton – 60 or 70 miles away, it has to be doesn’t it?
“Imagine us playing 60-70 miles away from Sheffield. The following of the supporters and the love of the club they had was immense and now they are at a completely different level to what they were then.”