HUDDERSFIELD Town head coach David Wagner’s overwhelming desire to see how what is shaping up to be a memorable season for the club ends was behind his decision this week to rebuff interest from one of last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists.
Wolfsburg, struggling in the Bundesliga this term, are understood to have been considering a move for the 45-year-old during the winter break that began in Germany two days ago.
Huddersfield’s emergence as the surprise package of the Championship had alerted Wolfsburg, but Wagner made clear his intention to stick around in Yorkshire.
“I have been in this business long enough as a manager and player to know if you perform well or over perform then you get interest from other clubs,” said Wagner.
“They recognise you. That is how football is. It is usual. I do not want to sound arrogant, but that is how football works.
“For me, what is important is preparing this dressing room for the next game against Nottingham Forest.
“I did not do the statement (confirming his intention to stay at Huddersfield) because I want to play a role (in the story). I meant it from the bottom of my heart. I want to go forward and see where this story ends.
“That is my aim and why it was so important to me that I made it clear I was happy with the steps already taken, but that we are also still hungry and greedy to find out where the next step is.
“We said this at the start of the season. We will not give ourselves a target, instead we wanted to play this season without a limit. That is what we are still doing.”
Wagner has been a revelation since succeeding Chris Powell a little under 14 months ago as a footballing unknown in England.
His transformation of Town’s fortunes, however, has ended his anonymity with both Aston Villa and Derby County understood to have seriously considered the German when recently looking to fill their respective vacancies.
FC Ingolstadt and a couple of other Bundesliga outfits are also believed to have had Wagner in their sights before Wolfsburg’s interest emerged in the German media earlier this week.
“It wasn’t hard, it was very easy,” added the Huddersfield head coach when asked about his decision to stay in England.
“In Germany, the winter break brings lots of rumours and speculation. For me, it is nice that in Germany some people recognise Huddersfield Town.
“That is something the lads can be proud about. I like to see them get that recognition in Germany. But this story (at Huddersfield) isn’t done.
“I am focused on what we have to do in the future here and I like to try and do everything I can with my players to create something this season that we can be proud about.”
News of Wolfsburg’s interest in Wagner broke while the Town players were enjoying a four-day break ahead of the festive season.
The squad returned to training on Wednesday and Wagner wasted no time in calling a short meeting to explain the situation.
“I had some phone calls and text messages about it,” he added. “We are so tight as a group that the players are interested on so many levels about what is happening.
“It was a short meeting and then it was done. What I will say is that, in my opinion, we can make these stories into a positive because nothing happened.
“I am still here, and now we work together towards the next step, which is Nottingham Forest and our chance to get a fourth win in a row.
“We have not done that here since I arrived at Huddersfield Town. That can be a little bit of motivation for the next game. We are at home, it is Boxing Day and we can get a fourth win in a row. So, please, I say to the supporters, ‘Come along and create the atmosphere that we want’.”
Town’s largest Boxing Day home crowd since leaving their old Leeds Road home in 1994 will be at the John Smith’s Stadium for the visit of Forest.
Two games against sides sitting in the relegation zone then complete the festive season for the Terriers, who host Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve before travelling to Wigan Athletic on January 2.
Mark Hudson is likely to return for the trio of fixtures after recovering from the hamstring problem that has kept the club captain out of the last four games.
Joe Lolley has also rejoined the squad in training, but Wagner believes the midfielder will need a few more weeks before being available after surgery on his toe.