Huddersfield Town: How Terriers’ collective spirit paid dividends against Blackpool

Carlos Corberan’s Huddersfield Town showed they have the spirit to overcome adversity against Blackpool yesterday but Sorba Thomas and Jordan Rhodes showed there is more to them than just that.

The Terriers trailed twice at home to Blackpool in one of only two Boxing Day Championship matches to survive Covid-19, then suffered a further setback when Tom Lees had to be substituted with concussion. They were already without Levi Colwill, missing with bronchitis.

Rather than feel sorry for themselves, they kept pushing for another equaliser and capitalised on a second yellow card for Jordan Gabriel in the 62nd minute.

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Even before that, Rhodes had a goal chalked off for a narrow offside shortly after coming on as a substitute, and the former Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough striker laid the ball off for the first of two excellent finishes by Thomas in the space of three minutes which secured a 3-2 win.

Huddersfield Town manager Carlos Corberan, pictured at the John Smith's Stadium on Boxing Day. Picture: Isaac Parkin/PA.

“Before the game we said collective spirit would be very necessary,” said Corberan. “We knew we would need concentration and the confidence to be brave in attack but without collective spirit, everything is more difficult.

“It was the second game running we conceded to the first attack of the game but both times we reacted immediately. A very good cross (from Harry Toffolo) and a good header (by Danny Ward) allowed us to manage the game better because as soon as they started to go in front it helped them develop their plan to be more focused on counter-attacks and they’re very dangerous at that.”

But if character was all there was to it, Championship football would be much easier. As soon as they were down to 10 men with a 2-1 lead to defend, it naturally became the Tangerines’ sole focus.

“When you are attacking a team in a low block you need individual quality in the finishing, the dribbling, the crossing, the heading,” said Corberan. “These are very difficult things to teach players but every team needs them.

Huddersfield Town's Danny Ward (right) celebrates scoring their side's first goal against Blackpool at the John Smith's Stadium. Picture: Isaac Parkin/PA

“After a very good start to the season (Thomas) had a period where his performance was more flat but in the last three games I am watching him recover his level of self-confidence. It’s important he continues being important in attack, important in defence and very self-demanding.”

Even before Gabriel’s dismissal, Corberan brought Rhodes on for only a second appearance after a back injury and he quickly made an impact.

“He doesn’t need any type of instruction from me when he goes onto the pitch because he has a lot of experience and instinct in the box and he knows his job,” commented Corberan.

“The minutes he played the previous week helped, as did the 60 minutes he had in the B team. Those minutes and his self-demanding in training are going to allow him to be in better condition to help the team.”

Huddersfield Town's Sorba Thomas scores his side's second goal against Blackpool in the 3-2 Boxing Day win. Picture: Isaac Parkin/PA

Lees, caught in the face by former Sheffield Wednesday and United striker Gary Madine’s right elbow then flailing left arm in the same incident, will miss this week’s matches at Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers through concussion protocols but his injury is not as serious as eight minutes of on-field treatment before being carefully lifted onto a stretcher might suggest.

“The medical team tell me he is fine, he is stable,” said Corberan. “We’re going to follow the medical protocol but they tell me there’s nothing to be worried about.”