DAVID WAGNER last night admitted Huddersfield Town’s stunning start to life in the Premier League has taken even him by surprise.
The Terriers made it two victories from as many outings on their return to the top flight with a 1-0 triumph over Newcastle United, Aaron Mooy’s stunning second-half strike proving to be the difference between the two newly-promoted clubs.
It was enough to nudge Town up to second in the fledgling table behind Manchester United on goal difference and write another chapter in the club’s fairytale rise under Wagner.
“I don’t have to pinch myself but I did not expect this, no,” said the 45-year-old German. “But this can happen in football. If anybody knows that anything is possible then it is this club.
“We saw that last season. All we wanted was to be brave in every single game and I think we have done that so far. We are pleased with six points and two clean sheets, especially as those points are deserved.
“But we have to invest everything from the first second to the last.
I am in no doubt we are going to be one of the fittest teams in the Premier League as well. We need this for our high intensive style of football.David Wagner
“What we also have is the right mentality and the belief that if we stick together then we have a chance.
“Two good games with great results but only two games of the season.”
Mooy’s wonder goal meant Huddersfield became only the third newly-promoted club in the Premier League era to start the season with back-to-back wins.
Bolton Wanderers were the first to manage the feat in 2001-02 en route to finishing 16th, while Hull City beat Leicester City and Swansea City inside the opening eight days of last term.
The Tigers being relegated come May is a salutary lesson to all at the John Smith’s Stadium not to get carried away by such an impressive return to the elite after 45 years away.
Nevertheless, Wagner was justifiably proud of his players’ efforts against a Newcastle side that had finished last season 13 points ahead of the Yorkshire club.
He added: “This was a very strong performance from my team, and especially from the defence. I am delighted with the workload that the players invested and how every player felt responsible for the defensive work.
“I can’t remember a clear cut chance we gave away. Everyone knows how difficult it is to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League. We then won with a magic moment from Aaron Mooy and it was a deserved result.
“Everything in the Premier League is a little bit quicker so our fitness has had to go up. I never had any doubt that our fitness would be good enough. We were not one of the best teams in the Championship but, for sure, we were one of the fittest.
“I am in no doubt we are going to be one of the fittest teams in the Premier League as well. We need this for our high intensive style of football.”
Town’s dream start means next opponents Southampton, who have collected four points from two games at St Mary’s this term, are likely to be more wary of Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative than would have been the case nine days ago.
Wagner, however, scoffed at the suggestion his Terriers could now be considered to be favourites to prevail in the final game before the season’s first international break.
“I still have no understanding why we should be the favourites,” he said. “Everyone knows where we came from and what our starting point is and the circumstances we work with.
“For me, we will never ever be a favourite in a Premier League match this season. I also know we at Huddersfield Town will never, ever speak about a weak team in the Premier League.
“This is disrespectful because we know exactly where we came from. We were promoted at Wembley and are very happy to have six points on the board, plus two clean sheets.
“They are deserved points but we know how much we need to invest to be successful. Our games were tight. All we asked for is a chance and we have used our chance in the opening two games.”
Mooy’s winner was deserved reward for not only a fine team display but also a typically impressive shift from the Australian, Town’s standout player in the promotion success.
“For me, Aaron deserves the credit for his goal but also all his work,” added Wagner. “He is a great technical footballer with such unbelievable working attitude and responsible for defence. This is why I love this player.
“Signing Aaron (permanently from Manchester City in the summer) was one of our priorities. We signed him very early because, of course, we were in a lot of talks during the play-offs and what happened if we were promoted.
“He always gave us the sign he wanted to stay if that was the case. He liked this club and dressing room. And his role in the team.
“I felt we did everything right in the defence and thanks to Aaron Mooy for this great finish. He does not really say a lot, he does not smile a lot. He is very calm but I know he will be very proud.”
Town’s first top-flight win on home soil since Brian Clough’s Derby County, crowned champions that season, were beaten 2-1 at the old Leeds Road in November, 1971, coming on the back of that opening day win at Selhurst Park delighted the club’s head coach.
Wagner added: “I can be a little bit more relaxed over next Saturday. We now have a little bit of experience and we know how to do things. We now know if we follow our routine we can do things.”
Match report: Page 3.