HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach David Wagner believes that his side will head into next weekend’s key Premier League survival date with West Brom with plenty of momentum despite Saturday’s FA Cup exit to Manchester United.
A brace of goals from Romelu Lukaku booked the Red Devils a quarter-final berth on an evening of controversy which saw the video assistant referee system (VAR) employed to rule out a goal from Juan Mata for an extremely tight offside decision just before the break.
Wilder voiced his dissatisfaction with VAR after the match – despite that particular incident benefiting Town – and was rather more effusive in his praise of his side’s performance.
Wagner said: “If there is a competition where we can accept a defeat with a great performance, then it is this one.
“We are intelligent enough to focus on our performance, which we showed here and in our last two performances. We have this momentum and we will work as hard as we can to keep it.
“What makes me proud is that we showed what we are capable of even against a Manchester United side.
“I had no doubt that this was possible because the players had suchgood momentum before the game and they are still on it even though we did not have the result. The performance was still there.”
Controversy had reigned when referee Kevin Friend, on the advice of video referee Swarbrick, ruled out Mata’s strike with the scoreline at 1-0 to the visitors.
Swarbrick was consulted despite the incident not being defined as a clear and obvious error, with VAR supposedly only utilised to clear up any such incidents. The two-minute delay in play did not sit well with Wagner, who remains firmly against the VAR system.
He added: “The emotion was killed. I said this immediately to Jose (Mourinho) during the incident that, ‘Whatever will now be decided, whether this decision goes in our favour or not, I don’t like this’, and I have said this before.
“The emotion is killed, the emotion in the stadium in the stands, for us managers in the dugout.
“This is why I don’t like this system. Maybe I am too traditional.”
We are intelligent enough to focus on our performance, which we showed here and in our last two performances. We have this momentum and we will work as hard as we can to keep it.Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner