The power of the shot which nearly burst Vito Mannone’s net suggested Paul Coutts should really score more often.
But after watching the Sheffield United midfielder claim his first goal since March during last weekend’s victory over Reading, Chris Wilder suggested Coutts probably derives more pleasure from creating than converting chances.
“Paul Coutts is a typical midfield player who gets more satisfaction from sticking people in than scoring himself,” the United manager said. “If you ask a lot of midfield players, quite a few of them are like that.
“He’s technically very good so he should score more because of the positions we get in. But he’ll probably tell you he gets as much joy out of teeing others up.”
Coutts entered the match, which saw United remain third in the table, having completed more successful passes than any other Championship player this season; a statistic which underlines his importance to the team’s cause. Although Wilder would undoubtedly like the Scot to trouble the scoresheet more often, Coutts’ selfless streak makes him a pivotal figure in a squad which prides itself on having no over-blown egos.
United travel to Leeds on Friday hoping to record their fifth win in six games and, although Wilder has refused to publicly discuss the possibility of top six qualification or promotion, Reading’s Jaap Stam insisted the 50-year-old’s team is equipped to challenge for a top-flight place after his side were beaten 2-1.
“If someone like Jaap, who came within a penalty kick of taking Reading up, says that then, thanks, we’ll definitely take it from him,” Wilder said. “We know there’s a long way to go. We’ve got to play them at their place as their skipper said to me at the death when he was having a moan at the referee. But that’s okay, that’s just two people who are passionate about their football clubs and who want to do well.”