SIMON GRAYSON insists losing to former club Leeds United was no more painful than any other defeat Huddersfield Town will suffer this season.
The one-time Elland Road apprentice had been hoping to prevail in his first meeting with United since being sacked last February.
However, despite taking an early lead through Chris Atkinson and then going in level at the break thanks to Adam Clayton’s penalty, Grayson’s Terriers ended up well beaten as Leeds made their second-half superiority pay to claim a first win in Huddersfield against Town since 1963.
He said: “With it being a derby we wanted to get the bragging rights but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“The defeat isn’t any more painful than it would be against any other team. I just hate losing.
“And if we play like that against Bolton or Hull in the next couple of weeks then I will be just as disappointed as I was at how we played against Leeds.
“Losing to Leeds doesn’t make me any more hurt or angry than losing to anyone else. I am a professional manager who wants his team to do well.”
Despite being very much in the game at half-time, Town produced a disappointing second-half display to give Paddy Kenny one of his easiest 45 minutes of the season.
A header from Alan Lee that flew over the crossbar was the closest Huddersfield went to testing the United goalkeeper during that second period to leave Grayson frustrated.
The Town manager, who left Paul Dixon out of the 18 to accommodate an extra attacking player on the bench, added: “It is difficult to put the finger on why we didn’t get going in the second half.
“There was plenty to play for in a great local derby. Maybe we let goals affect us and you simply can’t do that.
“What I will say, though, is it is a long season and I do have a good group in our dressing room. We’ve let ourselves down over the last two games and that is disappointing.
“But we will bounce back and get back to winning ways to get out of this sticky spell.”
On an afternoon of few positives as Town slipped to a third defeat in four outings, the impressive manner in which Atkinson adapted to the step up to the Championship on only his second league start for the club pleased the home fans in a crowd of 20,372.
The 20-year-old had only returned to the John Smith’s Stadium from a loan spell at Chesterfield, where he had scored five goals in 15 appearances, last week but slotted straight into the side.
Atkinson’s big moment came on 12 minutes with a composed finish after being played in by Clayton.
“When I slotted it past the ’keeper it was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” said Atkinson, whose only previous league start in Huddersfield colours came in March, 2011, at Yeovil Town.
“But losing takes the shine off. Football is all about getting the three points. We didn’t manage it and the key now is to work hard in training and bounce back.
“We didn’t get the ball down like we can in the second half and didn’t pass it like we can. Instead, we played into Leeds’s hands.”
On his own step up from League Two to the Championship inside a week, Atkinson added: “I felt ready. I’d played a few games for Chesterfield and came back full of confidence. I didn’t know I was in the side until the morning of the game and was delighted.
My family were all here and were just as pleased to hear I was in. To then score was brilliant.
“I gambled in the box and Adam Clayton played a great ball through to me. I knew I had to be calm. You can’t just slash at the ball or the chance will be gone.
“It was great to get that early goal in what was a fantastic atmosphere, but it is disappointing to then lose like we did.
“The dressing room was down afterwards. We’d just lost a Yorkshire derby. But we move on and look to get the three points next week.
“The manager told us to get our heads up and look to the next game, which is what we must do.”