HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach David Wagner has urged his side to channel any feelings of injustice or anger at being on the wrong end of refereeing decisions into “positive energy” for the club’s survival quest.
The Terriers head to Bournemouth still smarting from the weekend defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion that saw Steve Mounie dismissed and Michael Oliver incur the wrath of the home supporters.
An appeal against the red card yesterday failed, meaning last season’s top scorer must sit out the next three games.
Tonight’s trip to Dean Court will also stir memories of another afternoon when Huddersfield felt to be on the wrong end of several poor decisions by the officials when losing 4-0 to Eddie Howe’s men a little over a year ago.
“Sometimes, situations like this make you stronger and give you more desire to turn things around,” said Wagner. “The weekend was not what we deserved. But now it is all about the next challenge.
“This is a big game for us because after the experience of Saturday we want to get points on the board.”
Pressed on whether the message to his players is to channel what happened against the Seagulls into bouncing back with three points against the Cherries, Wagner replied: “Absolutely, yes.
“This is the only way to deal with situations like this. Take this on board and then turn what you have experienced into positive energy. That means the next game in front of us. It is good that the next game is in front of us quickly.”
Town’s appeal was rejected by the FA, who felt Oliver was warranted in brandishing the red card at Mounie following his clumsy challenge on Yves Bissouma.
This is unlikely to have done much for Wagner’s mood, as before the verdict came back he had spoken of Town’s confidence at overturning the dismissal.
This is the only way to deal with situations like this. Take this on board and then turn what you have experienced into positive energy. That means the next game in front of us.Huddersfield Town head coach, David Wagner
Laurent Depoitre will come in for Mounie at a ground where Callum Wilson netted a hat-trick against Huddersfield on an afternoon when their head coach felt the decisions again went against his players.
Wagner said: “When we played last season it was strange because we started very well in the first half-hour, had two clear chances but then conceded an obvious offside goal.
“Then we had an injured player not allowed to come on and we conceded a goal from the corner, and against exactly the player our injured player would have been marking.
“We had played a very good away game but were 2-0 down after two strange refereeing decisions. We had not done a lot wrong.”
Bournemouth, now in their fourth season among the elite, have lost their last four games but still sit in the top half of the table.
Wilson last month became the club’s first player to start for England, the striker netting the final goal in a 3-0 victory over the United States at Wembley.
He has a fine record against Huddersfield, having scored twice on his Bournemouth debut at the John Smith’s Stadium in 2014 as the hosts lost 4-0 and Mark Robins quit as manager.
“You could say that,” said Wilson when asked if the Terriers were his lucky team. “I have scored five goals in four games. I will look to continue that.”
When asked yesterday about the threat posed by Wilson, Wagner replied: “He is one of the very good offensive players that they have and he is in very good form.
“He has everything to be dangerous in front of goal. After his injury history that he had – I heard about his story (Wilson suffered two serious knee injuries) – it is great that he came back, and did so in such great form and with such good performances. But, hopefully, he takes a break this time.”
Chris Lowe will miss the trip to the south coast but the left-back is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a shoulder injury sustained against West Ham United on November 10.
He was expected to be out until Christmas but returned to training on Sunday and could be in the squad to face Arsenal this weekend.
As for tackling Bournemouth, Wagner added: “For me, they are better than they were last season. To be fair, you have to judge their results.
“Sure, they have lost (the last four games) but they played three of the big six teams.
“So, we should not be focused on Bournemouth’s results. Most of the Premier League clubs will have periods like this over the season.
“We have to focus on our recent form and performances. As long as we had been able to play 11 against 11 over the last five games, we were able to collect some points. We have to keep Bournemouth’s strong offence very quiet.”
Last six games: Bournemouth WWLLLL, Huddersfield Town LLWDWL.
Referee: R East (Wiltshire)
Last time: Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0; November 18, 2017; Premier League.