Huddersfield Town v Tottenham Hotspur - Bravery required as Terriers strive to move on up

DAVID WAGNER, by his own admission, does not know Mauricio Pochettino that well outside last season's tussles in the dugout.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: Steven Paston/PA
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

“My relationship is two games, two defeats and no goals so not the best,” joked the Huddersfield chief. “But I am a big fan of what he has done here in England so far.

“He always finds players, develops players – and often players who are not the biggest names in world football. But he turns them into one of the biggest names in world football.

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“This is something very special and he also brings success to his football club. I am a big admirer of what Mauricio is doing.”

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Wagner’s task today is to stop the footballing juggernaut that can be Pochettino’s Spurs, who on the corresponding weekend last year cantered to a 4-0 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.

It was a big moment in Town’s season, as, after that, Wagner adopted a more cautious approach when tackling the Premier League elite after feeling his side had been far too open against the Londoners.

For a time, this involved packing central midfield and this approach worked beautifully in last October’s 2-1 win over Manchester United.

By the end of the season, however, Wagner had switched to a three-man backline formation that he has retained for much of this term.

“We must be brave and we must have the atmosphere in the stadium where the supporters help us to do the hard yards,” added Wagner.

“Even against the top sides, we play different ways. It depends on the opponents – their shape, their situation and how they are looking at this minute.

“It isn’t the case that we will always play the same against the top six.”

Huddersfield are hoping to avoid matching an unwanted record of six consecutive home games without a goal, a feat the club last endured in the 1971-72 campaign that ended with relegation from the top flight.

“It is true we have not scored enough goals,” added Wagner. “We are the only people who can change this. Sometimes, this sort of run ends with you scoring more than one goal.”

Wagner, whose side slipped to the foot of the table after last weekend’s defeat at Leicester City, added: “Since I arrived, we have been written off much more than this.

“This is nothing new for us. If you are bottom, there is only one direction you can go. This is what we are trying to do.”