HEAD COACH David Wagner wants Huddersfield Town, the Premier League’s lowest goalscorers, to take inspiration from a trio of the club’s internationals finding the net during the recent break.
The Terriers sit second bottom with seven points and just six goals from a dozen outings.
Improving both those paltry tallies will be paramount in the coming weeks if Town, who travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, are to get out of trouble.
Encouragement for Wagner comes from not only Steve Mounie, Isaac Mbenza and Abdelhamid Sabiri all getting on the scoresheet for their respective countries since last turning out for Huddersfield, but also Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen this week helping Denmark to promotion in the UEFA Nations League
“Some of our international players came back after being very successful,” said the 47-year-old to The Yorkshire Post.
“‘Zanka’ – who is suspended for the weekend – played his part in helping Denmark get promoted. There were some goalscorers as well – Steve Mounie for Benin. Ahmed and Isaac also scored in the Under-21s.
“International breaks can be problematic, this is for every manager. We had some in Europe, some in Australia. Some played 50 minutes, some played 90 minutes. Everyone comes back under different circumstances.
“I am always very happy when they come back healthy. For me, this is always the most important thing.
“But when they come back with individual success this is always great for them as individual players, but also for us as a team.
“Hopefully they can take those positives from the international break and put them into our football club.”
Mounie’s goal came in qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations, his bullet header putting Benin in front only for Gambia to hit back and triumph 3-1.
Mbenza netted for Belgium’s Under-21s in a 3-3 draw with Romania and Sabiri in a 3-0 triumph over Holland Under-21s for Germany. Both of these were friendly games.
Neither of the trio has found the net this term for Huddersfield, whose woes in front of goal are perhaps best summed up by Fulham’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah being their joint leading scorer after putting through his own net at the John Smith’s Stadium earlier this month.
In some respects the Terriers have been unfortunate. Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative have struck the woodwork nine times this season, the joint highest in the top flight along with champions Manchester City.
Nevertheless, Town have to start adding a cutting edge to some impressive approach play.
”I am happy we create opportunities,” added Wagner, who will also be without Chris Lowe on Sunday due to the German left-back sustaining a shoulder injury in the 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
“I have a feeling we are creating more opportunities than in the past. We have had more dangerous situations than in the past.
“We were not able to use all of them, but we are able to create and this is where we are focused now.
“We have to change our luck with even more desire to score.”
Mounie and several of his team-mates may have been away on international duty over the past week or so, but Wagner has still been hard at work on the training pitch, including a few days of warm weather work in Marbella.
Losing Jorgensen, who collected his fifth yellow card of the season against West Ham, and Lowe for the trip to Molineux is a blow.
It leaves the Town chief pondering whether to switch to a back four or bring Jon-Gorenc Stankovic into the 3-5-1-1 formation that he used against both Fulham and West Ham.
One player unlikely to feature at Wolves is Adama Diakhaby. The 22-year-old has struggled to adapt since moving to England from Monaco during the summer for £8m.
Diakhaby has started just twice, his last action being a brief cameo against Liverpool on October 20.
Wagner, after admitting Diakhaby’s absence has not been injury-related, said: “He is fit, but still adapting to us, to our football and to our style in the Premier League.
“He is not in the shape he was when we saw him in Monaco. But you can see in every training session that he tries, that he works hard.”
Diakhaby’s struggles, along with those of Mbenza who joined on loan from Montpellier, have shone a light on last summer’s recruitment.
Ramadan Sobhi, due to injury, is also yet to make much of an impact following his £5.7m switch from Stoke City to leave supporters wondering what direction Huddersfield will take in January.
Wagner added: “For me it is not as simple as to say we need another No 9, and pay the cost. This is not how it works.
“I started a few weeks ago to have my eye on the market. It is important you are ready for the window. But everything you think today can be different in six weeks’ time. I am focused only on Wolves. We will see what happens in the next six weeks.”