MATHIAS JORGENSEN admits Huddersfield Town’s task today is to prove the “little scratch to our armour” inflicted by the heavy defeat to Tottenham Hotspur has been polished away by the international break.
In that respect, the 27-year-old defender and fellow countryman Jonas Lossl both had the perfect fillip courtesy of Denmark sealing a place in the seeded half of the World Cup qualifying play-offs since that 4-0 home loss to Spurs.
Aaron Mooy is another Terrier who took a giant step towards next year’s finals in Russia by helping Australia see off Syria to earn a two-legged final qualifier against Honduras, something that Jorgensen insists can only boost David Wagner’s men today when the Premier League resumes with a trip to Swansea City.
“Spurs are a top-class team and one of the best in the Premier League,” said Jorgensen. “Against them, we got a taste that if you make mistakes you get punished.
“It does hurt your pride when the scoresheet is 0-4. Defensively, we had been good up to that game but at least three of those goals were the worst we have let in this season.
“That was disappointing for all of us. To me, it was a little scratch to our armour. But we have had two weeks to polish everything back up and now we need to go out and show that. We have to prove it was a one-off and that we don’t do mistakes like that.”
Town head to south Wales having taken seven points from their previous three visits to the Liberty Stadium. It is a commendable record and one that Huddersfield, bearing in mind their remaining fixtures after today in October feature encounters with Manchester United and Liverpool, could do with extending against the third-bottom Swans.
For Jorgensen, the joy of Denmark edging closer to next summer’s World Cup finals by securing runners-up spot in Group E behind Poland means he makes the trip full of confidence.
“Qualifying would mean everything,” added the defender who sports the nickname ‘Zanka’ on the back of his Town shirt rather than his surname. “We have missed the last three tournaments, the last one we were in was South Africa (the 2010 World Cup). We really need this for the Danish people.”
Four countries potentially stand in the way of Aga Hareide’s men – Greece, Sweden, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The draw for next month’s play-offs takes place on Tuesday and Hareide, whose playing career included spells at Norwich City and Manchester City, has already indicated a desire to face either Irish side. Jorgensen, though, has other ideas.
We have the quality to get a result at Swansea. But you can never say a game is ‘must-win’, as some have asked me. It is a bigger chance of points but it won’t have more significance than other games coming up.Huddersfield Town’s Mathias Jorgenson
“Greece,” is his immediate answer when asked who he would like to be drawn against. “For them, coming to Copenhagen on a November night – especially if we are lucky enough to be at home for the second game, having got a good result away – will not be easy.
“If I had to choose, it would probably be Greece. They don’t have huge names like they used to have.
“Our coach wouldn’t mind playing either of the Ireland teams, he has come out and said that. He thinks that is going to suit us really well. But it would be a very physical game against either of those teams and tight. I don’t think it would be open. I don’t know if you need that in two play-off games.”
Denmark certainly will not lack belief after recovering from two defeats in the first three group games to beat Montenegro to second place by four points. In fact, at one stage during last Sunday’s final qualifier at home to Romania, Jorgensen felt automatic qualification might still be on. “You always hope for the miracle,” he added.
“We were winning 1-0 and heard Montenegro had made it 2-2 against Poland. Then, you start thinking: ‘Can Montenegro pull this off and score the next one so all we need is the win?’
“That would have put us straight through. Thirty seconds later, though, Poland scored and another 30 seconds later Romania scored. We were like: ‘Okay, we got that’.”
As desperate as Jorgensen is to reach Russia, he recognises the importance of today’s encounter with Swansea – and a reunion with a familiar face from his past.
“I played against (Wilfried) Bony at Vitesse when I was at (PSV) Eindhoven so I know the threat he poses,” said the Huddersfield defender.
“A selling point of the Premier League (last summer when joining from FC Copenhagen) was being able to test myself against great quality players, like Bony and like Harry Kane.
“Every week and whatever team you play against, you face world-class players. That is why you want to come here, to test yourself.
“We have the quality to get a result at Swansea. But you can never say a game is ‘must-win’, as some have asked me. It is a bigger chance of points (than when facing Manchester United and Liverpool later this month) but it won’t have more significance than other games coming up.
“What I will say is that Swansea are a team who are very compact and organised and difficult to break through.
“We can hurt them at some point but they are a team we need to be wary of, with good players like Bony.”
Asked if he had got the better of Bony during his time in Holland with PSV, Jorgensen smiled before adding: “No. That season, he scored something like 32 goals – I don’t think any defender got the better of him.”