HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have brought many positives to the Premier League.
The atmosphere at the John Smith’s Stadium is one, a succession of visitors this season having left commenting on the noise and passion generated by the locals at Yorkshire’s sole top-flight venue.
Then there is the ability to pull off a shock such as October’s victory over Manchester United that gives English football an edge in the eyes of the world when compared to the likes of La Liga or the Bundesliga, where the big boys are rarely given a bloody nose by those from the lower echelons of the table.
Above all, though, the Terriers have brought a refreshing honesty to the competition with David Wagner not the sort of manager to try to sugar-coat a defeat or hide behind a refereeing decision.
If Huddersfield have been well beaten he says so. It is clearly an attitude that has filtered down to the German’s players.
Christopher Schindler, speaking to The Yorkshire Post in the wake of Town spurning the chance to take a giant stride towards safety, was in no mood to dress up the defeat to Crystal Palace as anything but a result that had been thoroughly deserved.
“It was not good enough,” said the scorer of the penalty at Wembley last May that ended the club’s 45-year absence from the elite.
“We wanted to play how Palace played. We wanted to be the team to show themselves in the challenges from the first seconds.
“But from the first 15 minutes almost every player got smashed over the touchline or we were the ones left in pain after a 50-50 challenge.
“That should not be the case. That should happen to them, not us. This was a massive opportunity at home.
“After other performances when we have lost we could say, ‘okay, we made a few things good and there are positives to take out of the game’.
“Tottenham was one of those, but not Palace. It was not good enough. Early in the game no one was asking for the ball.
“Then the crowd got a little bit nervous as well. Palace had exactly the game they wanted. We had a game I have not often seen from this team.
“No one was giving an opportunity to pass, showing angles to help a team-mate. Everyone tried to give the responsibility to another.
“This is not the way we can make this season a successful one. That is what we take out of this game, this is not the way to play. If we play like this we have no chance.”
For the 17th time in 31 league outings Town failed to score. It is a worrying trait, though not necessarily one that spells relegation with Leeds United having stayed up comfortably in 1996-97 despite firing a blank in 21 of their 38 games.
The big feature of that George Graham side, however, was a tendency to minimise basic defensive errors. On Saturday Huddersfield, for all the enterprising play of the visitors, were undone by conceding two ridiculously soft goals.
For the opener midway through the first half Luka Milivojevic’s mis-cued corner should have been cleared easily by Steve Mounie at the front post.
The striker’s failure to do so was then compounded by James Tomkins being afforded two chances to convert deep inside the six-yard box as several sporting blue and white merely stood and watched.
From that moment the odds on Huddersfield claiming even a draw lengthened considerably.
Wagner’s men had conceded the first goal 14 times this term before Saturday and had fought back to claim just a solitary point, earned at Southampton shortly before Christmas by Laurent Depoitre’s equaliser.
Sure enough Palace doubled their advantage in the 68th minute when Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen made a horrible mess of an attempted slide challenge on Andros Townsend.
Mike Dean rightly pointed to the spot and Milivojevic did the rest from 12 yards to leave Huddersfield to dwell on taking just a point from back-to-back home games against Swansea City and Palace.
With fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City to come in the final few weeks there is added pressure on the upcoming away games at Newcastle and Brighton.
Schindler added: “That is how it is in every game because we play against better teams, week-in and week-out.
“We can’t compete with the individual quality that the other teams have. We have to bring into games our other strengths. This is togetherness and fighting attitude. Against Palace we did not show that.
“You can see what happens when that is the case. We totally deserved to lose against a team that was below us.
“On the other hand it makes no sense now to write us off. We still have this in our hands. That is important.
“I know that from my former club (TSV 1860 Munich). Once you are not in control of things, then it gets really, really tough.”