THERE were contrasting moods at the final whistle on Tuesday night as Huddersfield Town returned to the top of the Championship table whil Rotherham United slumped to the foot.
But, despite those hugely differing fortunes for the Yorkshire duo, both sides had reasons to be optimistic, according to those involved.
For the Terriers, a fifth straight home win meant the weekend loss at Reading was fully out of the system, while the Millers were able to reflect on a much-improved performance on the road despite losing 2-1.
“It was really important to beat Rotherham,” admitted Town’s record signing Christopher Schindler.
“We had a good performance at Reading when down to ten men but we didn’t get any points at all.
“That meant the most important thing was to win our next game and keep the run going at home. We did that so are very pleased.
“The game was very hard. The challenge was tough so we were happy to get the three points. To win five games out of five at home is great and now we want to finish strongly (at Ipswich Town) before the international break.”
Joe Newell, meanwhile, admitted the initial feeling as the final whistle sounded was frustration that yet another away game had ended in defeat.
But, by yesterday morning, that had been replaced by a sense that maybe a corner had been turned despite Rotherham slipping to the foot of the table.
“The character we showed and the quality we showed at stages in the second half against a team that went top of the table – and is playing very good football – is something to build on,” added the midfielder.
“I think the second half speaks volumes about that, to be honest. We struggled first half and it was tough. But, in the second half, the way we dug in and fought for each other. It shows there is no problem with team spirit whatsoever.
“We are all behind each other. We all want to get out of this rut we are in. I would say that was our best performance away from home and we were up against a top team. There were good signs. We have to cut the silly goals out.”
As for Town, the satisfaction from claiming a seventh league win in 10 outings was added to by David Wagner having been forced into a host of changes due to suspension.
Chris Lowe, Mark Hudson and Rajiv van La Parra were all banned but the Terriers made light of their absences with an impressive team display that was only let down by an erratic final ball at times.
“We have a really good squad and the Rotherham game proved that,” added Schindler, part of a new-look back four that included full debutants Michael Hefele and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis.
“To lose three players to suspension is unusual, especially two in defence at the same time.
“There were some situations where I believe you could see that things were not normal. Not the same harmony but that is natural. The more games we play together the better things will be.”
Both clubs have one final assignment before the enforced fortnight break for the latest round of internationals, Huddersfield heading to Portman Road as the Millers prepare to host Newcastle United.
“We have one more game now before the international break and it is important to go into the break with another good performance and result,” said Schindler.
“After that, we can have a little breather. The break is a chance to go home. We have a few days off and I will use this time to go back to Germany and see my family. I am really looking forward to this. We want to go into the break on the back of another win. But it is more important for ourselves that we can look at performances and know we have given everything.”