Hud­der­s­field chief Wag­ner ex­pect­ing good re­ac­tion in their base­ment bat­tle

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD SUT­CLIFFE

DAVID WAG­NER in­sists Hud­der­s­field Town’s morale has not been hit by re­turn­ing to the foot of the Pre­mier League.

The Ter­ri­ers slipped to a sev­enth de­feat in 10 league out­ings this term as Wat­ford tri­umphed 3-0.

With New­cas­tle United claim­ing a point from a goal­less draw at Southamp­ton, Town were dumped back at the bot­tom of the ta­ble.

“We don’t have a prob­lem with morale and con­fi­dence,” said Wag­ner, whose side are still chas­ing a first win of the sea­son.

“The play­ers showed that in the first 10 min­utes, when we started on the front foot. This has been the case in re­cent weeks. Against Wat­ford, we had a prob­lem with in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances. This means, as a team, we did not per­form at our high­est level in de­fence.

“We did not want this but these are hu­mans and it can hap­pen. The play­ers know it and now it is all about the re­ac­tion we show in our next game.

“De­fen­sively, we have to be a lot bet­ter. Of­fen­sively, we keep on do­ing what we are do­ing but with an end prod­uct.”

Town are next in ac­tion a week tonight at home to Ful­ham in a game be­tween two of the top flight’s bot­tom three clubs.

A much bet­ter de­fen­sive dis­play will be needed than was the case at Vicarage Road, as goals from Roberto Pereyra, Ger­ard Deulofeu and Isaac Suc­cess clinched a com­fort­able win for the hosts.

The first two strikes were im­pres­sive solo ef­forts but em­i­nently pre­ventable from a Town per­spec­tive with Pereyra al­lowed to glide through five would-be chal­lengers.

“We had to stop both play­ers,” added Wag­ner. “If pos­si­ble, fairly out­side the box. But if you are not ac­tive and ag­gres­sive then you will not stop them.

“These are qual­ity wingers, yes. But this is what we have to be ready to face. This si­t­u­a­tion we should have been able to solve. We gave them too much space.”

AS a re­spect­ful hush de­scended on Vicarage Road in trib­ute to the fallen ahead of next month’s Re­mem­brance Sun­day, a soli­tary ban­ner sud­denly ap­peared in the away seats.

A Hud­der­s­field Town badge was clearly vis­i­ble along­side the em­blem of the Royal Air Force.

But it was the Latin in­scrip­tion – Per Ar­dua Ad As­tra – that most caught the eye. The trans­la­tion reads ‘ Through strug­gle to the stars’ and is the motto of the RAF.

By full-time it also pretty much summed up where the Ter­ri­ers are at in the Pre­mier League. A 3-0 de­feat fea­tur­ing de­fend­ing that would shame a schoolboy had left the Ter­ri­ers strug­gling badly.

The heights the club soared to last sea­son by stay­ing up seem a long way in the dis­tance now that David Wag­ner’s men are back on the foot of the ta­ble.

To turn things around, Town are go­ing to need all the fight­ing spirit that has char­ac­terised the near three years of Wag­ner’s reign.

For one-time record sign­ing Steve Mounie, us­ing the pain of this de­feat to spark a re­ac­tion in the up­com­ing back-to-back home games against Ful­ham and West Ham United is para­mount.

“These games are big,” the Benin striker told The York­shire Post. “We need to get points. We have not won one game since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and we are near the end of Oc­to­ber now.

“That is not good enough. If we want to get some­where in the Pre­mier League, we need points. To get points, we need wins.

“In my whole ca­reer, this is the hard­est I have known. The most frus­trat­ing. I have never started a sea­son like this with­out a win.

“But when you come out of a si­t­u­a­tion like this, you are stronger. As a team, we have the spirit to come out of this si­t­u­a­tion and we will do that.”

Much of the chat­ter among the 20,457 crowd at half-time cen­tred on the two goals that had given the Hor­nets a lead that, even al­low­ing for the threat Hud­der­s­field had posed Ben Foster’s goal dur­ing those open­ing 45 min­utes, seemed unas­sail­able.

Both had been pretty damn spe­cial. Roberto Pereyra’s 10thminute opener was the pick, the for­mer Ju­ven­tus man hav­ing sla- lomed his way past five would-be tack­lers en route to beat­ing Jonas Lossl.

Ger­ard Deulofeu, on the op­po­site flank, beat just two Town de­fend­ers be­fore find­ing the net but it was still a thrilling ex­am­ple of wing­play. Or it was if your loy­al­ties lay with Wat­ford.

From a Hud­der­s­field per­spec­tive, both were em­i­nently pre­ventable. Or, as Ter­ri­ers goal­keeper Lossl suc­cinctly put it af­ter­wards, “They were s*** goals from ev­ery­one”.

The Dane had a point. Pereyra should never have been al­lowed to get as far as he did af­ter set­ting off from the touch­line.

Erik Durm had two op­por­tu­ni­ties to stop him, at the start and end of the run. But oth­ers were just as cul­pa­ble for not even at­tempt­ing a tackle with Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jor­gensen, Jonathan Hogg, Philip Billing and Chris Lowe all fail­ing in their de­fen­sive du­ties.

Deulofeu was af­forded sim­i­lar free­dom nine min­utes later, as Lowe reck­lessly dived in and then Hogg as good as ush­ered the one­time Barcelona man into the penalty area.

Lossl then com­pounded these missed op­por­tu­ni­ties with a crouch that made up Deulofeu’s mind to aim for the roof of the net.

Town’s frus­tra­tion at con­ced­ing two goals in such a sloppy man­ner was only added to at the break by how im­pen­e­tra­ble Ben Foster had been at the other end.

The Hor­nets goal­keeper got down smartly to his left to keep out a drilled 20-yard shot from Aaron Mooy in the sixth minute that had seemed des­tined for the bot­tom cor­ner.

Foster fol­lowed that with a stun­ning fin­ger-tip save to di­vert Lowe’s pow­er­ful ef­fort onto the cross­bar.

It was the sixth time Hud­der­s­field had struck the wood­work this sea­son, a tally only cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City can bet­ter.

Any no­tion, how­ever, that the Ter­ri­ers are back at the bot­tom through ill-for­tune alone can be dis­missed with sham­bolic de­fend­ing char­ac­ter­is­ing this sev­enth de­feat of the sea­son.

The Hor­nets’ third goal was not as spec­tac­u­lar as the first two. But it was just as poor from a de­fen­sive per­spec­tive.

Eti­enne Capoue’s chipped pass af­ter a free-kick in­ex­pli­ca­bly found Kiko Fe­me­nia in five yards of space. His first-time vol­ley back across the penalty area then landed at the feet of the equally un­marked Isaac Suc­cess. He had no trou­ble in beat­ing Lossl.

Town ap­pealed, more in des­per­a­tion than any­thing, that Adrian Mari­appa had been off­side in the build-up but the de­fender was not in­ter­fer­ing with play and the goal rightly stood.

Fur­ther hu­mil­i­a­tion was spared thanks to ref­eree Mike Dean, who rashly blew his whis­tle fol­low­ing a tug by Mooy on the shirt of Will Hughes. Mo­ments later, Dean’s haste was clear as Lowe nudged the ball past his own goal­keeper fol­low­ing a break­down in com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

It was scant con­so­la­tion when the fi­nal whis­tle blew mo­ments later to leave Wag­ner’s men back at the foot of the ta­ble and badly need­ing an in­jec­tion of that famed Ter­rier spirit in what is surely a ‘must-win’ home game against Ful­ham a week tonight.

“We need more com­mit­ment in our game,” added Mounie. “I do not want to see any player give up be­cause this is not fin­ished.

“We are still go­ing and we still have a chance to stay up. We have to fight. For me, I will fight and try to score goals to help the team.”

PIC­TURES: DANIEL HAMBURY/PA

TAK­ING A TUM­BLE: Hud­der­s­field Town’s Lau­rent De­poitre goes fly­ing as he is tack­led by Wat­ford goal­keeper Ben Foster. Left, Town’s Aaron Mooy chal­lenges Will Hughes. Right, Hud­der­s­field play­ers ob­serve a minute’s si­lence ahead of Re­mem­brance Sun­day.

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