Grayson rues poor beginning against Brighton
Huddersfield Town Manager Simon Grayson rued his team’s poor start to the game against Brighton after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat.
The Seagulls scored an early goal and doubled their advantage before the half-time whistle, so despite a spirited fight-back from the Terriers in the second 45 minutes Simon Church’s late strike was nothing more than a consolation.
“We lost today’s game in the first 20 minutes – we didn’t start the game well enough,” Simon told htafc.com. “We’ve been one of the best teams in the first half this season – the stats show that – but you can’t switch off and make the mistakes we did against a team like Brighton.
“In the first 20 minutes we didn’t get in their faces and stop the wide players. We had to get in amongst the midfield areas where it really matters. We always look at performances, win or lose, and see what we can do better next time we play and we can learn from today for the next time we come up against a team that passes the ball like Brighton, which they do very well.
“We also didn’t do what we wanted to and get in amongst them; we allowed them too much time on the ball and let them get into the passing routine that they are renowned for and do very well. Instead of closing a player down from two yards, we were probably five yards away. That was probably the major factor why we didn’t get anything out of the game today.”
Brighton’s second goal started with an uncharacteristic mistake in possession from Keith Southern and Simon knows that these things happen.
“Keith has done that many times and got away with it, keeping possession, but this was one of those instances where it really affected us. He’ll learn from that mistake like the other players do, because you get punished at this level.”
Despite the poor start, Simon was pleased with the character his side showed during the second period – sparked by a double substitution that saw Alan Lee enter the fray.
“We had some good opportunities; Simon Church had a good headed chance, Lee Novak poked one wide and we scored late in the second half. You can’t fault the players’ endeavour and enthusiasm.
“I was a little bit disappointed with how we passed the ball during the first half, but we still looked a threat throughout the course of the game.
“We normally like to get the ball down and play it around, but we went a little bit more direct and put the ball into the box to see if Alan Lee could cause them a few problems so we could pick up the second balls. We got the goal late on and one or two players felt a little aggrieved about not getting a few free kicks and even a penalty right at the end, so at least we had a go.
“The substitutions that we made were tactical to try and get something out of the game; you have to do things. We have a philosophy at this football club to try and pass the ball around and play good football, but sometimes needs must and you have to go a little bit more direct and see if the opposition can handle someone of Alan’s strength and endeavour. That got us the goal today; if you look in the morning it says Simon Church got our goal, but that move started with a long ball into the box.
“If the time had gone on a little bit longer, we would have probably nicked something. Would we have deserved it? Maybe on balance over the course of the game, but in the first 20 minutes we let them get the initiative.”
Grayson was without the services of striker Jermaine Beckford and winger Sean Scannell today, as he explained:
“Jermaine was close to playing today, but we just felt that it’s too big a risk to employ him in the game today when his hamstring might go and then he’d be out for a long period of time.
“Sean Scannell had a tight hamstring from Thursday’s training, hence why we left him out of the squad as well. You have to look at the bigger picture sometimes.
“It’s not easy because you want players like James Vaughan, Scannell and Beckford available, but Simon Church, Lee Novak and Danny Ward have come in and done very well recently. We’ll be happy to have that extra option when they’re all available.
“I would think Jermaine and Sean have a strong chance for next weekend because they weren’t too far away today. We’ll assess them on a daily basis and we’re hopeful, but you’re never sure with these types of injuries; if there is a slight danger of them missing all the games over the festive period, we won’t risk them.
“James Vaughan will go for a scan on Monday to see if his thigh injury has settled down. You never know – the scans might be positive and we’ll get him back onto the training pitch quickly. He’s been in every day doing his rehab work in the gym, but obviously with a thigh injury you can’t do certain things – like join in with training. These things happen in football and he has good medical staff around him to keep him positive. Hopefully we’ll have him back as quickly as possible, because he’s done very well for us.”
Town now have to refocus on next weekend’s trip to the capital to face Charlton Athletic.
“We’ll dust ourselves down. When you look at the table we are still seventh in the division and there are a lot of games still to be played. We’re looking forward to the Charlton game next weekend.
“It doesn’t matter who you are playing; they are all tough games. We’ll go to the Valley in good spirits aiming for another good away performance, like we had at Barnsley last week. I think we’ve shown already this year that we are capable of beating anybody on our day and although we’ll respect Charlton we’re looking forward to it.”
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