Narrow margins and hard-luck stories conspire against Huddersfield Town

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN'S season is in danger of descending into a succession of hard luck stories.

Bournemouth's Steve Cook (left) and Huddersfield Town's Laurent Depoitre battle for the ball during the Premier League match (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire)
Bournemouth's Steve Cook (left) and Huddersfield Town's Laurent Depoitre battle for the ball during the Premier League match (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Performances have, on the whole, been good and there has been an attacking swagger about the Terriers at times that has genuinely had the opposition rocking.

Town are also much better to watch than last term with the midfield trio of Philip Billing, Aaron Mooy and Jonathan Hogg giving David Wagner’s men a foothold in games that just wasn’t evident enough times in 2017-18.

But, as the campaign edges ever closer to Christmas, Yorkshire’s sole representative is deep in the relegation mire after taking just two wins and 10 points from the opening 15 games.

It is a maddening state of affairs for everyone at the John Smith’s Stadium, as goalkeeper Jonas Lossl admits.

“We are all very frustrated,” said the Danish international to The Yorkshire Post. “We play well, like against Bournemouth, but that is not enough. We have to get results.

“We need to look in the mirror and change it. There were positives but that has kind of been the story of the season.”

Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Eddie Howe’s Cherries was, in many ways, a microcosm of Huddersfield’s season.

Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Jonas Lossl

After a wobbly opening 20 minutes in which the hosts raced into a two-goal lead that with steadier finishing could have been doubled, Town assumed control.

With Mooy dictating play and attack-minded wing-backs Florent Hadergjonaj and Erik Durm spending almost as much time in the Bournemouth half as their own, the visitors laid siege to Asmir Begovic’s goal.

The Bosnian was peppered by no less than 23 efforts from those sporting blue and white, six of which were on target. In contrast, the Cherries managed just half a dozen of their own but tellingly found the net through Callum Wilson and Ryan France with their only efforts on target.

Huddersfield also dominated possession (67 per cent) on the south coast but still came away empty handed.

Begovic played a big part in that with some impressive saves, not least when blocking drilled efforts from Mooy and Alex Pritchard, and tipping over a Laurent Depoitre header.

What was perhaps most frustrating is that Town’s ninth defeat of the season bore similarities with so many of those that preceded it.

Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Brighton and Liverpool – whose manager Jurgen Klopp even apologised to good friend Wagner after his side’s smash-and-grab win in October – all took maximum points off Huddersfield when the Yorkshire club had a strong case for deserving at least a point.

Likewise, the draws against Burnley and West Ham United could – and probably should – have yielded six points. All in all, therefore, a frustrating state of affairs.

“We caused our own problems against Bournemouth and conceded two sloppy goals,” added Lossl. “We played well.

“But we have performed well in matches a few times and not got the points. After Brighton, we spoke about the fault maybe laying somewhere else but Bournemouth was our own fault. We needed that little bit extra. The dressing room was low afterwards.”

Asked if he agreed with The Yorkshire Post’s assertion that the season is in danger of becoming a succession of hard luck stories, the Huddersfield goalkeeper replied: “I am not one to generalise. I prefer to look at the one match and Bournemouth was disappointing.

“But, of course, with a lot of the other matches it has been kind of the same story. But we will change it.”

Small margins are holding Huddersfield back. Wagner’s men have struck the woodwork nine times this time, a tally only Manchester City and Liverpool can beat with ten apiece.

This suggests Town can turn things around if the profligacy in front of goal that has characterised much of the campaign can morph into the sort of clinical finishing that brought all three points for a distinctly second best Bournemouth on Tuesday 

“We have a good team and we have shown that we can play well,” said Lossl. “But if we looked at ourselves in the mirror (after Tuesday) we have to feel disappointed not to get anything because we played well.

“We must keep playing in this way but be better in key areas. I cannot stand here and say we are a better team after we have just lost a match that we should have won.

“But I am positive about how we play. Now we have to take that into the next game against Arsenal (on Saturday at the Emirates).

“We played very well in our last match against Arsenal on the final day of last season.

“We will go in with our gameplan and do whatever is required to give ourselves a chance of getting a result.”