Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 July 2018

Huddersfield opt to travel home by bus after securing survival at Chelsea

Town wanted to stretch out their celebrations.

Chelsea v Huddersfield Town – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town – Premier League – Stamford Bridge

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Huddersfield celebrated their Premier League survival by cancelling their flight home to Yorkshire and instead returning from Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea by bus.

The Terriers drew at Manchester City on Sunday and claimed another point at City’s predecessors as champions to guarantee their top-flight status for a second successive season.

Jubilant celebrations ensued and were to continue on the three hour, 45 minutes, near-200 mile journey back to Huddersfield.

“We cancelled the flight. They want to go back by coach,” said Town boss David Wagner, who had a clothing mishap as he was hoisted aloft by his players.

“I hope this was not live. Listen, my body shape is not how it has to be.”

Laurent Depoitre stunned the hosts with an opportunist strike before Chelsea claimed a fortunate equaliser when Mathias Jorgensen’s attempted clearance ricocheted in off Marcos Alonso’s face.

But Huddersfield valiantly held on to survive ahead of Sunday’s game with Arsenal.

“This achievement for our football club is just incredible,” Wagner said.

“We’ve done it on our own, we didn’t rely on anybody. This week with City, Chelsea and Arsenal, this is just unbelievable. I’m so proud.

“This is an over-achievement. For me personally it’s a bigger achievement than the promotion last season.

“Last season we were predicted as a team who would get relegated (from the Championship) and we got promoted.

“This season we were predicted as the team to get relegated by miles and I understand it.

“Today we were chanceless, more or less. They showed their top quality and were unlucky.

“It feels like another trophy for the football club.”

Chelsea’s bid for Champions League qualification goes to the final day at Newcastle. They must win and hope Brighton beat Champions League finalists Liverpool at Anfield.

Speculation is rife that Antonio Conte will leave Chelsea this summer, despite guiding them to the title last season. This was not how the Italian would have chosen to bow out if this was his last home match at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues head coach congratulated Huddersfield on securing their status and rued the missed chances which mean his side must rely on Brighton beating Liverpool to have any hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

“The situation wasn’t in our hands before this game and after this draw the possibilities are less than before,” Conte said.

“I’m realistic. I think at the end of the season you finish in the position that you deserve.

“We dropped many points this season. If we stay fifth in the table it means we deserve to stay in this position.”

Chelsea may complain about time-wasting and gamesmanship from Huddersfield, but they had chances. Antonio Rudiger should have scored twice and Jonas Lossl saved brilliantly to deny Andreas Christensen following a late goalmouth scramble.

Conte made six changes, but insisted his side should still have prevailed.

“It’s stupid if we think rotation is a problem,” he said.

Conte declined to look beyond this season, with the trip to Newcastle followed by the May 19 FA Cup final with Manchester United.

He said: “Now it’s not important. We have to finish this season.

“We have another game to play, the FA Cup final, then the club for sure will do the best to improve the situation.”

Press Association

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