Vinicius Souza in the spotlight as Blades boss demands consistency

Chris Wilder has urged Vinicius Souza to maintain the same determination he showed in his standout performance at Luton Town last Saturday throughout the remainder of Sheffield United’s campaign.

The Brazilian midfielder clinched his maiden Premier League goal in a crucial 3-1 victory at Kenilworth Road, injecting a much-needed boost into United’s fight against relegation.

Despite their precarious position at the bottom of the table, with goal difference keeping them there, United have narrowed the gap on Luton, now trailing by just seven points with 14 matches left.

While the odds remain stacked against them for avoiding an immediate drop to the Championship, consistent displays akin to Souza’s impressive showing offer a glimmer of hope for the team’s improbable survival.

The Sheffield United manager was full of praise for Souza in his post-match reaction, but he did also challenge the Brazilian to find consistency.

“We just need consistency from Vin. He’s got the attributes, he’s got the ability, but I just want that drive more often. We’re into him. You’ve seen today, he’s a big player for us.”

Vinicius Souza stands out in win at Luton

On Saturday, the 24-year-old had arguably the most impressive performance that any other Blades player has been able to conjure up all season long. I graded his display at a nine out of ten, but if it wasn’t for the conceding of a penalty it likely would’ve swayed me to hand out the first ten out of ten of the campaign.

Souza was an absolute monster successfully battling for 15 of 18 total duels (83% success rate). To add to this impressive number he made six tackles and swept up the danger by clearing the ball seven times.

He showed off his other capabilities as well by making two of six long passes and registering a completed take-on. To put the cherry on top of the cake, the big Brazilian romped home Sheffield United’s third to ice the game, an opportunity that had only a 10% chance of finding the back of the net.

Mixed opinions

Throughout this season Vinicius Souza has been a big talking point amongst supporters on social media. One set of fans praise him for his performances, while another section berate him.

It does remind me of the Oli Norwood situation. For many years, despite winning two promotions to the Premier League with the club, some section of the fanbase would be highly critical of him. And it’s the same thing with Souza right now.

Personally I’ve liked Souza ever since joining the club in the summer. He is a midfield enforcer, a type of player the Blades have been starved of for many years now.

When comparing his stats to positional peers from across Europe’s top five leagues, and European competitions, the Brazilian ranks in the top 2% for successful tackles per 90 and tackles + interceptions per 90, top 4% in aerial duels won, and he also ranks in the top 15% at tackling dribblers.

Souza does exactly what it says on the tin and if you can’t appreciate a player like him then so be it. Without a doubt he can be more consistent, and I think the performance down at Kenilworth Road will shoot his individual confidence through the roof.

All stats taken from FBref.
Tags Analysis Chris Wilder Vinícius Souza