Huddersfield Town’s defeat to Millwall leaves Carlos Corberan urgently seeking solutions
The pitches are becoming heavy and Town could have done without the turf taking a dowsing as they were trying to play their passing game against a team who sat on their early lead in a low block. Carel Eiting’s loan had been bit of a coup but now he has undergone knee surgery, the midfield looks short of guile.
Richard Keogh plugged the gap left by a spate of centre-back injuries, but still it was disruption Huddersfield could have done without. Despite Carlos Corberan’s pre-match talk of the new signing arriving with “minutes in his legs”, he did not have quite enough to make it to last night’s finishing line.
When something extra was needed from the bench, Corberan’s cupboard was pretty bare.
A transfer or two would not go amiss.
Corberan is not a manager who will rock the boat to get transfers – he is not a manager at all, but a coach who will always just get on with what he is given.
“We’ve played many games with the same players and now we’re missing them so we need to create new relationships,” he insisted.
“We cannot be thinking we need Eiting, we need to think about how we can solve this type of situation when the team is in a low block. We need to use the next two weeks to improve our level in attack.
“We need to find a solution with the players I have right now.”
For the first time under the Spaniard, Huddersfield have lost three straight league games, two at home, where they were previously so strong.
“It was something we wanted to avoid because we don’t want to create a negative dynamic,” he said. Negativity was the over-riding feeling of the night.
Despite their struggles, and despite going behind after four minutes, Huddersfield still managed a few good chances to score beyond Fraizer Campbell’s missed penalty. Once that was hammered against the crossbar, after only 16 minutes, few inside the John Smith’s Stadium seemed to believe the home side would score.
They only hit the target once.
Huddersfield looked short of confidence and defensively disorganised when they went behind, Scott Malone popping up unmarked at the far post to tuck the ball away after the Terriers failed to deal with Dan McNamara’s cross.
Corberan called it “a goal we needed to avoid – that made the game more complicated.”
Battling against heavy rain and a pitch that was having to suck it up – Millwall were too – a Town side who had lost four of their last five matches looked flustered and low on self-belief. Corberan was more animated than usual, Harry Toffolo furious when he demanded his team-mates “Get it wide!” It took about 40 minutes to work out that goalkicks short to a centre-back inside the six-yard box were not the way to go.
Not only was the midfield diamond the hosts started with not forever, it did not last 10 minutes.
When Ben Thompson got the wrong side of Lewis O’Brien as he galloped onto a Rolando Aarons pass, Campbell was given the chance to equalise from the penalty spot.
“It’s a little bit soft but you can understand why the ref’s given it and I’ve got no complaints,” said Millwall manager Gary Rowett.
He smashed it against the crossbar.
O’Brien played a wonderful pass to Juninho Bacuna who despite not being at an ideal angle, ought to have hit the target rather than thumping beyond it. When another ball released Toffolo, Bartosz Bialkowski had to make the save of the half low down from Danny Ward, making only his third Championship start since returning to the club.
Millwall missed an excellent chance of their own, Shaun Hutchinson heading wide a corner the Lions would not have had referee Peter Bankes not corrected his bad error in awarding a goalkick.
Pipa did extremely well just before the hour to skip away from a challenge and play the ball into Aarons, who shifted it out of his feet, but shot horribly wide.
Naby Sarr missed a guilt-edged opportunity, contorting his left foot to a ball falling nicely for his right at a corner.
From so close to goal with no one in his path, he should have put it in with either.
Even O’Brien was guilty, heading wide at Alex Pritchard’s corner in the fourth added minute.
Huddersfield Town: Schofield; Pipa, Keogh (Pritchard 85), Sarr, Toffolo; Vallejo; Bacuna (Phillips 75), O’Brien, Aarons (Jones 68); Ward (Mbenza 60), Campbell. Unused substitutes: Duhaney, Crichlow, Brown, Pereira, High.
Millwall: Bialkowski; Leonard, Hutchinson, Cooper; McNamara (Romeo 75), Thompson, Woods, Williams (Ferguson 75), Malone; J Wallace (Bradshaw 75), Bodvarsson (Zohore 75). Unused substitutes: Fielding, Smith, Pearce, Bennett, Parrott.
Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).
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