Huddersfield’s David Wagner made a comment during his post-match interview following his sides 6-1 defeat to Manchester City a fortnight ago that read, “We can now easily leave these two results behind us. We hoped for more but we weren’t able to expect more. Our season starts now”.
Wagner reiterated that this was the exact message he relayed to his players following his side’s humbling at the hands of Manchester City, a week after being cut apart by Chelsea.
While this type of perceived positive messaging for the season ahead may not sound all that surprising considering the quality and riches of both of these opponents, doesn’t it show a lack of ambition on his behalf?
Yes, Huddersfield are a club who perhaps over achieved in reaching the Premier League one ago, but they are now exactly that: a Premier League club. If they are to avoid relegation this season and progress into an established top flight club, it’s time to start believing it.
Comments such as these would perhaps be lot easier to comprehend if coming from a manager of League 1 side who has just watched his side battered in the third round of the FA Cup away from home.
Granted, Huddersfield were coming off the back of heavy defeats from the two previous Premier League champions. But to say that you didn’t expect anything at all from either game seems defeatist, a premature waving of the white flag if you will.
Not even to believe you can compete with these big clubs is criminal in the modern game, especially when you see the approach Wolves took to the game against Manchester City last Saturday.
It is certainly unrealistic to suggest that Huddersfield should go toe-to-toe with the likes of City in the league table, but to compete with them and battle hard over 90 minutes should be the minimum expected. If they are to remain in this division, then the Terriers need to start showing some bite.
The previous two results as Wagner suggested, should not be a reflection on their season. They won’t meet teams of Guardiola’s or Sarri’s quality every week and the priority for Huddersfield is to pick up points against teams in and around them in the table.
Yet, if as Wagner said, their season started with the game against Cardiff, there could be worrying times ahead.
Had Huddersfield picked up the three points against newly promoted Cardiff on August 25, then the comments made after the defeat in Manchester would be forgotten about. But after a poor result at home to a relegation favourite and a direct rival, the pressure is on to deliver for Wagner.
Huddersfield enjoyed the majority of possession against what appeared to be a weak Cardiff team, yet it was the Bluebirds who conjured up more than double the attempts on goal (14) to the home side (5).
It can be argued that the game swung in the favour of the visitors after Jonathan Hogg saw red for a clumsy head to head with Harry Arter, but the reality is Huddersfield never put them under too much pressure from the off.
For a team with ambitions of staying in this division and building into the future, securing three points at home in winnable fixtures is crucial. It is necessary for the players to start believing that they can get results. It’s time to start backing each other in an attacking sense and committing bodies forward at important moments in games, especially in these tighter games.
As a unit they need to start scoring goals quickly as it has become a major issue throughout the squad.
It is difficult to see where Huddersfield’s first win of the season is now going to come from with tough trips to Everton, Leicester City and Burnley away from home while Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Liverpool both visit the John Smith’s stadium before the end of September.
Huddersfield’s early season form last year was imperative to their survival in the league as they struggled badly to accumulate points after Christmas. If they do not start believing that they are worthy of their place in this division soon, it’s going to be Championship level football that welcomes them back with open arms in May.