A welcome distraction for Jonas Lossl from Huddersfield Town’s travails came at the start of this month.
His 30th birthday on the eve of the trip to Chelsea saw the Terriers goalkeeper presented with a small cake, complete with a couple of candles, by his team-mates.
It was a nice touch and one that was very much appreciated by the Dane, who admits most weekends recently have been far less happy affairs as the defeats have piled up for Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative.
“A lot depends on how we lose,” said Lossl when asked by The Yorkshire Post about a horrific run that has seen Huddersfield claim just a solitary point from their last dozen Premier League outings.
“Or how the game goes for me, personally. Of course it is difficult. I have never been on a run like this.
“Of course we had runs last season when we lost four or five games in a row. But not one like this. What I focus on is one week forward and one week back. No more.
“We lost our last game (at Chelsea) and we have to change that (today against Arsenal). That is how I handle this.
“I also have a general rule where I give myself a day (to deal with a defeat) and then a recovery day the day after. But then I have it all out.
“That gives me time to speak to the people I need to speak with be it my goalkeeping coach, my mental(ity) coach, my manager, the players, my wife sometimes.
“After that it is left behind and a time to look forward. You will have to ask my wife if I am difficult to live with right now. But she makes good food for me, that is a help. She is a very good cook.
“I am not happy after the games. Most would not be (happy) when losing all the time. We are professionals. I would not be here if I did not like to win.
“It is hard for my wife. The family feels it at a time like this, of course they do. There is pressure on everyone, including the staff here at the club.
“Everyone handles the pressure in their own way. I owe it to everyone to not let the pressure come to me.”
Huddersfield’s slump in form since briefly rising to 14th in the table on the back of beating Wolverhampton Wanderers in late November suggests the club surely have one foot already in the Championship.
Lossl, however, does not agree and instead believes victory today over the Gunners could yet spark a revival capable of taking Town clear of trouble.
“One win will change everything,” he said. “Hopefully it will then be a step on to the next one.
“There are 13 games left and we need to get 24-25 points to get up to the level we were last season. My personal opinion is that will be enough.”
Town’s toils on the field may not offer much encouragement, but there was some heartening news earlier this week concerning popular chairman Dean Hoyle.
He has been in hospital for the past 15 weeks suffering from pancreatitis. Now, though, Hoyle’s condition has improved sufficiently that he hopes to be at today’s game.
“The chairman has always been such a positive figure for the club,” said Lossl, who is in his second season at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“It has been a while since we spoke to him, but last season he was at the training ground, maybe once a month, having his lunch with us and chatting.
“We have spoken a few times since I arrived, but the one that stands out was after Chelsea last season. I had probably had a couple of drinks, but we had a good time then.
“Hearing his news this week was a big boost for everyone. Let’s hope it gives everything a lift; we will take what we can right now.”
With hindsight the defeat at Arsenal in December was the moment when Town’s season started to go badly off the rails.
Sure, David Wagner’s side had only won twice before heading to the Emirates Stadium, but the performances had been good.
This continued against the Gunners in a spirited 1-0 defeat, but Aaron Mooy suffering a knee injury in the closing stages had major consequences.
Without their talisman the Terriers’ displays dipped markedly and it would be timely, indeed, if Mooy could inspire a long overdue victory on what will be only his second start since returning from injury.
“We need to grind a win out,” said Lossl when asked if this had been the most testing season of his career. “Everyone knows that.
“But I will never judge a season midway. It can still be the best season and it can still be the worst. I am just enjoying the Premier League and trying to draw on all the experiences this provides me.
“I hate losing, but I owe it to myself, first and foremost, and also to the club and the fans to keep fighting.”
Jan Siewert, who succeeded Wagner late last month, is looking to make it third time lucky today as the German searches for not only his first point in English football, but also his first goal at the helm of the Terriers.
“The new manager has come with new ideas,” added Lossl, “more tactics specific to the games. The coach has ideas depending on the team we meet.
“We work on Arsenal and where we need to hit them. Of course you will see changes from before, but the spirit will, hopefully, be the same as it has been.”
As for his own personal milestone of reaching 30 on February 1, Lossl added: “There was no time for a party, but they (his team-mates) had a small birthday cake for me the night before Chelsea.
“One portion size, just for me, two candles. I don’t know why it was two, but it shows the spirit is still there.”