HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach Jan Siewert admits there is a lingering hangover of relegation that the club can only “kill” off by winning matches.
The Terriers have taken a solitary point from two games since returning to the Football League, while Tuesday night brought an embarrassing exit from the Carabao Cup.
Lincoln City’s victory led to Huddersfield being jeered from the field by their own supporters, who have seen the club win a paltry three times in the past year.
Siewert, appointed in January with Town as good as down despite having 15 games still to play, is under pressure to turn things around, starting with tonight’s home game against fellow newly relegated side Fulham.
He said: “There is (a hangover), in a way. We have to deal with it. By winning. To kill the hangover, it is about winning. That is why we try everything to beat Fulham.
“For a long period, we (have) unfortunately lost football games. We have to get that out of the players. We have to help them in every way to be free on the pitch and to perform.
“We can get this (hangover) away by winning. I know they can win against Fulham. The players are hurting. Of course they are. We all are hurting.
“Let’s win a football match. Confidence is the big thing. Just win football matches. It is very simple.”
The midweek loss to Lincoln prompted speculation about Siewert’s future, especially after the German was late to do his post-match media duties at a time when grim-faced new owner Phil Hodgkinson was seen deep in conversation on his mobile ‘phone as he strode up and down the touchline.
Asked about whether he felt under pressure to deliver, Siewert replied: “The only one who can put pressure on me is myself. There is no pressure from me, I do not fear anything. I put pressure on (myself) because I want to win. I have spoken to the chairman. But what we spoke (about will remain internal.
“It is my connection with the chairman. Of course, we spoke about the game but I will not say about what he say.
“We have an idea about what we want to achieve. The overall idea is to stabilise the club. We need the winning mentality.”
Fulham are one of just two sides that Huddersfield have beaten since the start of last season, the Yorkshire club having done the league double over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Christopher Schindler was initially credited with the winner against the Londoners on Bonfire Night only to have the first-half effort instead handed to Fulham’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah by the Premier League goals panel.
“It is a comparable situation,” said the German defender when asked about last November’s meeting at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“Maybe not that bad now. But we have not started as we wish, especially performance wise. We have to be honest about that among ourselves.”
Town, of course, are not the first club in the second tier to start slowly.
A year ago, for instance, Sheffield United were beaten by Swansea City and Middlesbrough in the opening four days of the campaign and still went on to finish as runners-up.
“There are so many games to go and this is still an early stage,” added Schindler. “Norwich started slowly last season and won promotion.
“This is a tough league and there have been a lot of changes. In all areas, with a new chairman and a lot of new players. But we have a good squad, quality wise. We are not showing it yet but we can turn this around.
“There are positives to take from that (game last season). Key player again is (Aleksandar) Mitrovic. He can cause problems. We have to adapt to that.
“Their side has not really changed so we can take positives out of that victory. However, the away leg, we lost (1-0 in late December). It showed every game is different and you cannot say, ‘Let’s do it again’.
“We need the crowd behind us and we can do that by playing with intensity.”
Siewert, after making 10 changes to his starting XI against Lincoln, is expected to revert largely to the personnel who drew 1-1 at Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.
Trevoh Chalobah, however, is expected to retain his place from the Imps debacle.
“We have to separate the teams,” said the Huddersfield head coach when asked about Tuesday’s Cup exit. “It was a totally different team (on Tuesday).
“I expected them to play better. We should have done and there is no point talking about that (any more). The other team who faced QPR will be facing Fulham. We want to win. We will try everything.”
Last six games: Huddersfield Town LDDLDL, Fulham WWLLLW.
Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).
Last time: Huddersfield Town 1 Fulham 0; November 5, 2018; Premier League.