HUDDERSFIELD TOWN manager David Wagner insists his side’s Premier League know-how will ensure there is no hangover today from the club’s heaviest defeat in a little under 20 years.
The Terriers crashed to a 6-1 defeat at champions Manchester City last Sunday, a result that together with the opening-day loss to Chelsea means Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representatives sit bottom of the embryonic table.
Possible salvation comes today with the visit of Cardiff City, managed by Neil Warnock, the only club priced at shorter odds for the drop than Huddersfield before a ball had been kicked.
“Of course we wanted more than what we got from the games against Chelsea and City,” said Wagner to The Yorkshire Post.
“It is the truth we have zero points. We wanted to avoid this, but it has happened.
“Now we have a home game. The opponent is not important, just that we have a match after two defeats and we want to turn it around.
“We want to show that we are better than these two defeats. That is exactly our aim.
“I am pretty confident after what I have seen from our players this week. We have learned from last season that even if you beat big names or get two wins in a row this means more or less nothing in this league.
“The same if you concede a lot of defeats in a row or have a heavy defeat. Instead it is all about the next challenge and this is Cardiff City. We learned from last season that we have to work. No one will give us anything.”
Another defeat today would see Huddersfield make their worst start to a season since 1992-93 when the club were in the third tier and a little under a year away from appointing Warnock as manager.
Town’s tough start has been in contrast to 12 months ago when a much gentler reintroduction to the top flight after 45 years away saw Crystal Palace and Newcastle United beaten in the first two games.
“It is always good for the mood to collect points early,” added Wagner, whose side’s loss at the Etihad was the heaviest for Town since a 7-1 reverse at Barnsley in November, 1998.
“But we must not make the mistake of trying to compare this season to another season. That makes no sense.
“We have had two games against two very good opponents and collected no points. Now it is the third one against Cardiff City.
Everyone is aware about Cardiff’s style and how Neil Warnock sets up his team. They are different from the rest of the Premier League, I think there is no doubt about that.David Wagner
“Everyone is aware about Cardiff’s style and how Neil Warnock sets up his team. They are different from the rest of the Premier League, I think there is no doubt about that.
“But what everyone has to know is that they are very good at what they are doing. This is what counts.
“We have a lot of respect for them. They are very physical and direct, but with football quality in the final third.
“Set-plays are a big part and this will be a physical game. But we are prepared and, hopefully, we will be at our best in what will be a tough test.”
Wagner welcomes back Aaron Mooy after the Australian missed the loss to former club City to attend the birth of his son.
Also available again after injury are Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen and Jonathan Hogg, meaning the Town chief has no absentees for the visit of Cardiff.
Changes seem certain with summer signings Adama Diakhaby and Ramadan Sobhi pushing for a first start, while Wagner is expected to return to his preferred 4-2-3-1 set-up.
One big decision surrounds who starts in goal, Ben Hamer having got the nod in the opening two fixtures ahead of Jonas Lossl.
Hamer, however, has been far from convincing, his poor distribution against Chelsea being followed by key mistakes that led to goals in the heavy defeat to the champions.
Wagner would not be drawn on who will start in goal, but he added: “Now we have exactly what we wanted to have in more or less every position – competition. This is the case with the goalkeepers as well.
“This is a difference to last year. (An established goalkeeper) is usually what you like to have, but for this to happen someone has to be a consistent performer at their best level, then we will have a number one.
“That is the same for the number one shirt, the number 10 shirt, the number two, whatever.
“Jonas came back after the off- season not in the best condition or shape, but worked very hard with the goalkeeping coach and fitness department to come back to the shape he needs to be at his best.”