Huddersfield Town's '˜bravery' offers survival hope for David Wagner

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN head coach David Wagner believes Premier League survival is still possible after vowing: 'We did not look like a team that is bottom of the table.'

Manchester United's Paul Pogba celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

The Terriers slipped to a sixth straight defeat as Manchester United ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s homecoming ended in a 3-1 victory for the Norwegian.

With Fulham having drawn at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the day, Town slipped back to the foot of the table ahead of the two clubs going head-to-head on Saturday at Craven Cottage.

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“If I take a look at the table it looks difficult and it is difficult,” said Wagner when asked about his club’s survival hopes after reaching the halfway stage of the season with just 10 points.

Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner. Picture: Nigel French/PA

“But if I look at the performance in this game then I have every confidence that we can pick up more points. We did not look like a team that is bottom of the table.

“The bravery and the confidence of the players is something we need to keep.”

Paul Pogba’s second-half double, together with a 29th-minute opener from Nemanja Matic, were enough to see off Huddersfield, who netted an 88th-minute consolation through Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen.

As has been the case umpteen times this season, Huddersfield paid the price for failing to capitalise when in the ascendancy.

Terence Kongolo spurned a great chance in the 10th minute, while Philip Billing also squandered an excellent opportunity on the stroke of half-time.

Laurent Depoitre was unfortunate to see his goalbound effort just after the hour clawed to safety by David De Gea but, even so, a profligacy streak continues to haunt the Yorkshire club.

Wagner added: “We have to solve our problem, which is scoring more goals.

“We can easily collect much more points than we have done in the first half of the season.

“The guys who have followed us this season have seen once again a game that they have seen more often than not this season.

“Everything between the two goals – how we defended, our commitment, determination, effort and how we created opportunities in offence – was positive.

“But we have to take those chances.

“We had the first clear-cut chance of the game through Kongolo, we had the last one of the first half through Billing.

“To be totally honest, I think the second half was even better from my side. We were beaten by world class, Paul Pogba showed his top quality with his goals and De Gea made a world-class save from Depoitre.

“A big reason why we lost was because we were not clinical enough. It is a problem and we have to solve this.

“But if we can solve this problem and continue to perform like we have in recent weeks – this was a good performance by my side – then we can collect more points in the second half of the season than we have managed in the first.”

Town are a point adrift at the foot of the table heading to second bottom Fulham for the first of three consecutive games against their biggest relegation rivals, Wagner’s men host Burnley on January 2 and then travel to Cardiff City ten days later.

This potentially season-defining trio of fixtures explains why Jonathan Hogg was kept on the bench yesterday despite recovering from the knee problem that had ruled the midfielder out last Saturday’s home defeat to Southampton.

“I did not want to take any risks with him,” said Wagner, who switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation that included Florent Hadergjonaj in central midfield.

“I want to give ‘Hoggy’ two more days of training before he is back in contention.”

Match report: Page 24.