How Danny Cowley and brother Nicky have restored belief at Huddersfield Town

Christopher Schindler: Praise for new management team.Christopher Schindler: Praise for new management team.
Christopher Schindler: Praise for new management team.
THE Cowley brothers have brought Huddersfield Town “back to life”, according to captain Christopher Schindler.

The Terriers were relegated from last season’s Premier League and after two points from their opening nine games they were on course to drop into the third tier. Since taking over in September, manager Danny Cowley and his assistant and brother Nicky had led them out of the relegation zone when the coronavirus saw games suspended in early March.

Now Schindler believes the foundations are in place a better 2020-21.

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Schindler was involved in some of the most exciting times in Town’s recent history as they won promotion to the top-flight and even more surprisingly stayed there for a second season. It has made the fall to earth harder.

“If you go through a period like a lot of the players had done where no-one was expecting us to do what we did, then it’s really tough to go through a Premier League season where we lost almost two-thirds of the games,” says German centre-back Schindler. “It hits you harder, like a punch.

“We needed some time to get back on track and there was this transition period off the pitch too with a new chairman.

“It took us quite a while to get back to where we needed to be but they (the Cowleys) tried to find a way of playing that suited the players they inherited. That made us so strong and we found different ways of playing, different styles.

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“We learned what it took to win games and to get points away from home. They kind of gave us our belief back, this was their biggest impact.

“Physically, they brought us to a level where we can perform playing almost every three days. They have a really good understanding for individual players, what they need and what they don’t at a specific time in the season.

“In a table excluding the first nine games we would probably be ninth or 10th (they would be ninth). Those two did a tremendous job bringing that team back to life. It’s one of the toughest challenges for managers.

“In the Championship, you have to consistently be at the limits of your performances on a regular basis, a couple of times a week if possible.”

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Schindler admits the 12-month period before the Cowleys arrived rank amongst his most testing as a player.

“I’ve fought against relegation a lot so I know what it takes to get through it,” he says.

“It’s hard to believe in yourself sometimes.

“This period was really testing for me personally because you don’t always get the reward for what you’re doing. You have to do more and when you do it’s not always a different outcome.

“It took the self-belief out of your body and you start feeling sorry for yourself but you can either continue to find excuses or try every single week to prepare as best you can. That’s really easy for me to say now but it’s difficult at the time.

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“I was in a really tough place but now we have a real fighting chance (to avoid relegation) as a team. We haven’t finished the job yet.”

Town are three points and four places outside the Championship relegation zone, with nine matches to play if the Football League can restart the season as they hope. Having had their first transfer window in January, the Cowleys seemed to have kicked the team on to another level before the pandemic.

“If we play in the Championship next season we must learn from (this season) and there must be a lot of critical analysis,” argues Schindler.

“Maybe our target for next season is a solid mid-table finish but in a good year we might compete for the play-offs. I think this can realistically be a goal.

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“If we can perform like we did under David Wagner, nobody expected that, but we have to be realistic and humble and develop a style and an idea to take us forward.”

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