Chelsea v Huddersfield Town: Terriers’ mindset is ‘to do our job’, says David Wagner

Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire).
Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire).
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HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach David Wagner believes Premier League survival would feel like the club have won the title.

The Terriers head to Chelsea tonight sitting 17th following Southampton’s 1-0 win at Swansea City last night, which relegated West Brom.

One draw from either their trip to Stamford Bridge or Sunday’s final-day clash at home to Arsenal would be enough to guarantee Town’s safety.

“To have [Manchester] City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the last week of the season shows how far we have come,” Wagner told The Yorkshire Post. “It is nothing that this football club has had in the past 50 years.

“We wanted it, we have it and now we try to get the best out of it. I have no complaints about these fixtures. I am absolutely fine with the position we are in. I would not change if someone offered me the chance to swap with some of our competitors, neither our position or our points.

“What doesn’t change is that we need to do our job and collect further points. If we do that we do not have to care about our rivals. That is exactly how our mindset has to be.

“If we stay up it will be as if we have won the title. For me personally and us as a club, to secure our status would be bigger than the achievement of promotion last season and, for me, it would be like we have won the league.”

Huddersfield will head to the capital with a travelling support of around 2,250 fans, many having booked coach travel for just £1 thanks to an offer from shirt sponsors Ope Sports.

Sixteen coaches will descend on west London thanks to the support of the global betting firm as Town go in search of a second shock result inside three days, Manchester City having been held to a goalless draw at home by the West Riding club last Sunday.

Chelsea, unlike Manchester City, have more than pride to play for with the race for a Champions League place having been blown wide open by Sunday’s 1-0 victory for Antonio Conte’s men at home to Liverpool.

Tottenham Hotspur, two points ahead of last season’s champions, host Newcastle United tonight so there is plenty at stake for Huddersfield’s final away day opponents of the season.

“We are into the last week, but it feels like one of the busiest,” added Wagner. “Definitely one of the most intense.

“Chelsea is a very different task to Manchester City, different styles. But a very good result and good performance [like the one at the Etihad] helps you in terms of your confidence.

“An exciting one against Chelsea awaits. They are a very good team still fighting for the top four. From my point of view it was a challenge anyway (even without the Blues’ Champions League ambitions still being alive).

“Chelsea are a former champion, they have a very good manager and they are a team in good form.

“But we are in a position we have been in almost all season. Only once have we been in the bottom three.

“What is difficult for our rivals is there can be the feeling that you are running out of games. This is the truth.”

Swansea round off their season at home to Stoke City on Sunday while Southampton tackle Manchester City at St Mary’s.

Town’s clash with Arsenal, meanwhile, will be preceded by a lap of honour by the 170 or so cyclists who yesterday set off from Huddersfield to take part in the club’s ninth annual Pedal for Pounds charity ride.

All proceeds go to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Wagner took time out of his busy schedule yesterday to deliver a pep talk to those riders taking part in the 282-mile trek through Belgium and France, stopping off at the graves of six former Terriers players killed during the First World War.

Chairman Dean Hoyle will join the riders after tonight’s rearranged fixture and Wagner would dearly love to welcome the cyclists back at the weekend with league safety assured.

He added: “We don’t have to lie by making this task small. It is one of the biggest tasks you can face. Chelsea, the former champions, are on a very good run. Difficult? Yes, but Sunday’s task [at Manchester City] was difficult as well and we got our reward. This is our aim at Chelsea.

“We try to be at our best physically, at our best with the fighting spirit and then work for our reward.”

Tom Ince returns to the squad after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury.

However, Chris Lowe and Terence Kongolo are slight doubts after missing training on Monday with knocks sustained in the punishing heat of last Sunday.

Wagner added: “We must make what looks an impossible task possible.”

Last six games: Chelsea DWWWWW Huddersfield Town LLDWLD.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

Last time: Chelsea 3 Huddersfield Town 1; February 16, 2008; FA Cup.