Millwall v Huddersfield Town: Terriers’ ability to stay mentally strong until end crucial

WHEN you are fighting it out for the big prizes with your rivals, the number of times when the outcome of key games goes deep into the last 10 minutes is high.

Sometimes to the ‘death’ – as Huddersfield Town can certainly vouch for.

Ask Terriers supporters and Christopher Schindler’s penalty at Wembley is likely to be the one abiding memory of the Terriers’ season from the Gods in 2016-17.

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Several other moments in that season’s journey of discovery are also locked in the memory vault for posterity.

Carlos Corberan - Huddersfield Town head coach. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Who can forget Michael Hefele’s late strike in the West Yorkshire derby with Leeds United in February 2017?

It was followed by Tommy Smith’s dramatic winner to seal a thrilling comeback at another Yorkshire side in Rotherham United just nine days later in a 3-2 success.

Then, there was a late Philip Billing goal to secure three points against Reading and Collin Quaner’s Good Friday intervention deep in added-on time versus Preston.

Heading into this season’s business end, drama has also transpired.

Late last month, Jon Russell picked the perfect time to score his first goal for the club in the sixth minute of stoppage-time to seal a remarkable late comeback against Cardiff City, who had led up until the 88th minute.

Unfortunately, Town were on the receiving end of an unwanted late rally in their game last time out at West Brom, with two goals inside a few minutes earning the Baggies a point from a match in which they had hitherto been second best in a 2-2 draw.

Strange things do happen at this time of year in a season when Town, for all their excellence, have conceded 10 league goals from the 80th minute onwards so far in 2021-22.

For someone who continually bangs the drum about concentration and possessing the right mentality in head coach Carlos Corberan, it is something which will not sit well with him.

More especially as he is a head coach who is obsessive about getting the small details right. From distances between players to set-piece positioning.

For him, the football pitch is an extension of a chessboard and he likes his key pieces in the right place.

His latest warning about the importance of concentration and that split-seconds can win and lose games and points is timely.

Corberan, who has stressed that his side must be ‘at their best in defence and attack’ to get a positive result in their next two fixtures against Millwall and Bournemouth, said: “We need to try and keep going as we know the Championship is a long season with many games and we need to learn and prevent this (West Brom) for the future, knowing that every small detail in one football game is going to be key.

“There are parts in football which are very difficult to control. You watch Real Madrid and PSG and how these kinds of situations can affect their players. Sometimes goals affect games more than any coach can do.

“The (first) goal (for West Brom) affected the emotion of our team and the second goal was affected by us.

“For me it’s crucial to know that any result is not safe until the final whistle. One goal can change the emotion of a game, whether you score it or concede it.

“The summary is we need full concentration from the first whistle to the last knowing every action can have an impact.

“It’s impossible to replicate a game in a training situation. We can talk with the players and insist on the importance of the details and keep focused not on the results, but on things that are working well and trying to stop things that are not working well.”

Corberan has confirmed that Carel Eiting will be involved in his squad in tonight’s game – if the midfielder comes through training.

Eiting is nursing a slight foot problem.

Tonight’s game pits together the division’s two form sides over the past six matches, with Millwall unbeaten in their past seven games to propel themselves into the play-off race.

Despite their recent cup loss at Nottingham Forest, Town boast an impressive 18-match run without defeat at league level stretching back to late November and they have not seen their colours lowered in their last nine Championship games on the road.

Last six games: Millwall WWWWDD; Huddersfield WWWWLD.

Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).

Last time: Millwall 0 Huddersfield 3, October 31, 2020; Championship.