Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers: Risk and rewards for Carlos Corberan

Carlos Corberan rejects the idea Huddersfield Town are playing too cautiously, arguing they are simply learning to manage the game and their own performances better.

To help that, the Terriers coach has asked Sorba Thomas, Josh Koroma and Mipo Odubeko to take lessons from Robert Lewandowski.

Since winning four Championship matches out of five, Huddersfield have lost their last two, to Nottingham Forest and Swansea City. They had just two shots on target against Forest, none against the Swans. Tonight they host a Blackburn Rovers side whose only league defeat this season came against West Bromwich Albion more than a month ago.

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But Corberan believes his team took too many risks in south Wales, not too few.

Huddersfield Town head coach Carlos Corberan.

“Football is always a game where you have to make decisions between the benefits and the risks,” argued Corberan, who expects to recall Danny Ward and may involve Rolando Aarons in a squad for the first time this season.

“You always have to have the balance between the risk and the benefit when you have the ball.

“I can’t say we’re not taking enough risks because in the first half the other day we took too many risks, lost possession and conceded a goal. The interpretation of the situations wasn’t right.

“The fact we’ve not scored in the last two games and have a low xG (expected goal metric) doesn’t mean we don’t want to attack but we need to adapt better and take responsibility.

“Mistakes are normal for a team that tries to play but you want to provoke the opponent’s press, break and attack on them with a lot of space behind the defenders.

“We had three situations (on Saturday) where if we had broken the press we had the opportunity to score. (Harry) Toffolo had the chance to drive with the ball and we had the chance to score, but we lost it and Swansea scored.

“We started to play a bit longer because playing short wasn’t working and the players need to work out how to adapt.”

The Terriers are yet to win this season after conceding first, and only at Stoke City have they lost after opening the scoring.

“As soon as you start well you have more options to win,” said Corberan. “When the opponents score fast you are going to have more difficulty.

“Scoring goals always means we’re attacking more against open spaces and the game is totally different. It’s always easier to attack when there’s more space. ”

The mini-wobble has coincided with a dip in form for Thomas, August‘s Championship player of the month. Corberan believes the 22-year-old just needs to learn from it.

“Some players need more time to make an impact, some make it quickly, but after you make the impact you need to be ready to stay consistent,” he said. “Mentally maybe he needs to adapt.

“I read an interview I recommend to every striker where Lewandowski was talking about his career. Something that continues to help him is remembering when he was young. He made a good impact at the beginning so when he had difficulties he always kept in mind the things that helped him then.

“Sorba Thomas had a fast impact when players didn’t know who he was, now they are going to focus more on him. He needs to continue having confidence, putting high demands on himself and adapting to different situations.”

Bayern Munich centre-forward Lewandowski has scored a remarkable 542 goals in club and international football but as well as learning from him, Corberan says his players have role models within the club.

“We have many positive leaders,” he argued. “Sometimes they don’t need to tell you anything, just set an example. Fraizer Campbell is one. Hoggy (Jonathan Hogg) has played in the Premier League and is a great example to players like Sorba Thomas.”

And Thomas has proved so adaptable, Corberan thinks he could even be an important weapon from right-back when his team is chasing games.

“Sorba Thomas has the skill to play well in different positions,” he said. “The first position I gave him was as a left winger because it was where he had played more games but in different leagues you sometimes need to play a different position. As a winger you face the opposition’s best defenders but as a wing-back you might face more midfielders.

“He can play perfectly as a left wing-back or right wing-back and on both sides as a winger, he can play as a striker – not a No 9 but someone with mobility between the lines – and if he develops the right way he could play as a right-back when we want to take risks because an offensive full-back can have more time in attacking situations.”

Last six games: Huddersfield Town LLWLWL; Blackburn Rovers WDWDDL

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire)

Last time: Huddersfield Town 2 Blackburn Rovers 1, December 29, 2020, Championship.