Sunday 18 March 2018

David Wagner hails Huddersfield's 'perfect start' to life in the Premier League

David Wagner has been encouraged by Huddersfield's start to the season
David Wagner has been encouraged by Huddersfield's start to the season

Huddersfield head coach David Wagner has described his side's first three Premier League games as "a perfect start".

The Terriers' goalless home draw against Southampton was enough to briefly lift them back to the top of the table before Manchester United's win against Leicester on Saturday evening.

Wagner's side followed up victories in their opening two games by claiming a deserved point against the Saints, which extended their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions.

"We have now seven points, three clean sheets, we're in the next (Carabao) Cup round as well, so it's a perfect start for us, but it's only a start," Wagner said.

The German expressed his pride in the manner in which his side appears to have adapted to top-flight football after an entertaining stalemate against Mauricio Pellegrino's unbeaten Saints.

Both sides had chances to snatch the points. Steve Mounie, Tom Ince, Rajiv van La Parra and Elias Kachunga all went close for the home side, while Town skipper Tommy Smith cleared Ryan Bertrand's late header off the line.

Saints pair Nathan Redmond and Steve Davis also threatened for the visitors in the first half.

"The players have seen now and with every result confidence can grow," Wagner said.

"Even in the Premier League if the players follow their identity and they are brave they have a chance.

"Sometimes in the Premier League our chances are higher and sometimes less.

"(On Saturday) the chances were less because we played against Southampton - at least a top 10 team, maybe even more in the Premier League."

Wagner welcomed the international break, during which his side will head to Germany to play Altona 93 in a friendly.

"We need this friendly against Altona because we have some new signings and some players who have come back from injury and haven't had many minutes," Wagner said.

The German revealed the club hoped to complete the signing of Rob Green in the next few days after the Leeds goalkeeper had completed his medical.

Wagner added latest recruits Florent Hadergjonaj and Abdelhamid Sabiri are both expected to be in contention for their debuts when Town resume their Premier League programme at West Ham on September 11.

Saints boss Pellegrino acknowledged the Terriers proved difficult opponents, but was satisfied with his side's start to the season as they too remain unbeaten in the league.

"In the first three games, I think we deserved to win the first two and this was really tough," the Argentinian said.

"But also, we could have won, also we could lose. It was a typical Premier League game.

"I'm happy because we've worked really hard this week after the defeat in the (Carabao) Cup and I think we'll improve, I'm sure."

Pellegrino, who said he expected wantaway defender Virgil van Dijk to still be at the club after Thursday's transfer deadline, also backed goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Gareth Southgate has overlooked Forster for England's World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia, selecting Jack Butland, Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Jordan Pickford in his 28-man squad.

"I can talk about Fraser as a Southampton goalkeeper. I don't have any opinion about the national team. This question is not for me," Pellegrino added.

"Fraser is for me one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. He is with us and I have to support him but we have to respect the decision of the manager of the national team."

Press Association

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