Huddersfield Town building for a long Premier League future

Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, who has four clean sheets to his name, is beaten as Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies scores his side's second in the 4-0 win at the John Smith's Stadium (Picture: Nigel French/PA).

AS Harry Kane wheeled away in celebration after putting Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 ahead inside the first quarter of their maiden visit to the John Smith’s Stadium, a ripple of applause broke out among the home fans.

This spontaneous response from the locals was entirely fitting for such a quality strike, Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield Town goal simply having no chance of keeping out such an exquisitely curled effort from the in-form England striker.

It could also have been an acknowledgment of just what the Terriers are up against on their first foray into the top flight for 45 years.

David Wagner’s men had garnered nine points from their opening half-dozen fixtures, but Kane and his Tottenham team-mates were a step up from those previous opponents.

Town, even allowing for their impressive start, still have a long way to go before thoughts can turn to a possible second season among the elite, as a look back through recent Premier League history underlines.

Over the past decade, ten newly-promoted sides have reached the second international break boasting nine points or more from the opening seven fixtures and yet four of those have still gone down the following May.

Another, Hull City in 2008-09, survived by just a point despite having 14 at the corresponding stage of the campaign, while only a storming end to 2014-15 that yielded seven wins from the final nine games was enough to save a Leicester City side that, as recently as March of that season, had looked doomed.

Clearly then, Town have plenty of work ahead – a point goalkeeper Lossl readily acknowledges.

“We are happy with the points we have,” the 28-year-old German, who already boasts four clean sheets in the English top flight, told The Yorkshire Post. “I think the total is fair and what our performances have deserved.

“I think we have shown in the Premier League what a good team we can be. We have played well. Looking at one game against Leicester, maybe we deserved to win and get the three points (rather than draw 1-1).

“But there will always be games like that, both good and bad for us, in a season. Maybe we had some luck in the first games, you never know. But nine points is fair and we are happy with that total.”

Town’s tally is, indeed, a decent return, especially when compared with how other newly promoted clubs have fared – the average over the past decade standing at 7.5 points.

Last season, for instance, Burnley and Hull had seven at this stage, one more than Middlesbrough. Such slow starts are a factor in why both Yorkshire clubs are this term back in the Championship.

It was a similar story a couple of years earlier, a campaign when two promoted clubs also went down, as Burnley and QPR had just four points at the corresponding stage meaning there was simply too much ground to be made up by two clubs who come May were still propping up the table.

This need for a positive start to life back among the elite was why Huddersfield fans were relieved when the fixtures were released in June.

With no big guns scheduled until Spurs on the final Saturday of September, Town had an early chance to get points on the board. This, of course, is what happened as the opening-day win at Crystal Palace was followed by another three points at home to Newcastle United, Aaron Mooy doing the honours with a stunning strike.

Draws with Southampton and Leicester City on home soil together with a goalless stalemate at Burnley mean Town will spend the international break occupying 11th place.

“The first six games did look important when we started the season,” admitted Lossl, on loan at Huddersfield for the season from FSV Mainz O5. “But not too much will change now we are playing the teams nearer the top of the Premier League, at least in how we play the game.

“Our identity stays the same, we prepare just the same for a team like Manchester United as we did a team like Burnley.

“We have three very big teams in a run of four games and that is exciting. We can test ourselves against some very good players; we all want to do that.”

Town return to action on October 14 with a trip to Swansea City, followed by those two tough assignments mentioned by Lossl – a home game with Manchester United and then a trip to Liverpool.

The Anfield reunion between Wagner and best friend Jurgen Klopp will see the 10-game mark of the season reached, this usually being the stage when the league table takes on a look that, by and large, will not have changed too much come May.

There are, though, exceptions with Phil Brown’s Hull sitting third with 20 points as November, 2008, dawned, a tally boosted by back-to-back victories in north London over Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur that saw Geovanni fire in a couple of spectacular goals.

Hull’s bright start could not last, however, and they won just two of the next 28 matches, only surviving on the last day due to Newcastle United losing at Aston Villa.

“We have shown a togetherness in the team and a strong spirit in the team,” added Lossl about Town. “We need to continue working hard. We know we will play world-class players, but that is why the Premier League is such a big test.

“We have done okay so far and got some good results. We feel to be proving ourselves in the Premier league.

“I am not saying that in an arrogant way, as we are still humble and know how hard we have to fight this season. We will continue to do that. But we also have shown, I believe, that we belong here.”

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