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WAGNER: THE REACTION WITH 10 MEN WAS GREAT

23 February 2016

Wagner pleased with second-half after poor first 45

- David Wagner reviews MK Dons draw
- Head Coach unhappy with fighting spirit in first 45
- Wagner delighted with reaction of his squad

Huddersfield Town Head Coach David Wagner was pleased with the point his side secured late on at MK Dons on Tuesday night after playing most of the second half with 10 men.

“It feels positive after the game,” David told htafc.com.

“I think the first half was one of the worst we’ve played together. We missed everything that we spoke about before the game. 

“We didn’t build up our fighting zone where we wanted; it was a jogging zone! We missed our fighting attitude completely in the first half and without that, it isn’t possible to deserve a result in the Championship.

“At half time, I told the lads that the reaction is important in our philosophy and to go out and show the right fighting attitude. We can lose a game – no problem – but not because we missed our fighting attitude. That isn’t possible as a Terrier.

“In the Championship, you cannot miss that fighting attitude. That doesn’t depend on the opponent; that’s the basis of the game. I can accept it today, but we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

“I thought the reaction was great, especially with 10 men really quickly after half time. We stayed in the game and everyone came together. I thought at the end, because of the fighting attitude, the result was OK.

“I think when you play 40 minutes with a man less, in a week with three games, we had to make sure we took the point. This was OK. “ 

Wagner had pushed centre backs Mark Hudson and Joel Lynch into makeshift striking roles late on and it was the skipper’s flick-on that gave Nahki Wells the chance to equalise.

David explained: “In the second half with 10 men, we lost a lot of our power and I didn’t have the feeling we could create something on the pitch in the last 10 minutes. They worked hard defensively with one man less, plus you have to run more to create a chance. 

“In the last 10 minutes, the idea was to play for the second ball with the long ball. That worked with ‘Huddy’ and Nahki finished his only chance of the game very coolly. This was exactly the idea of the substitution.”

On goal-scorer Wells, who now has 14 for the season and nine in his last 13 appearances, Wagner commented:

“It wasn’t an easy game for a striker. 

“In the first half they were much more aggressive than us and we couldn’t get the ball into the dangerous area so our offensive players could show their quality. In the second half we had one man less and everyone had to work very hard.

“To keep his concentration and be there in the right moment is a quality. It’s his job to score, but we are happy that we have him in our team.”

It was Danish teenager Philip Billing who was sent off just four minutes into the second half for a high challenge on Jake Forster-Caskey – and Wagner felt the decision was incorrect. 

“I’ve spoken to the referee. From my position – the same one as the Fourth Official – I didn’t think it was a red card.

“Phil is a tall guy, so it seems his leg is higher than it is sometimes. He is anything but an unfair player. 

“He had a bad first touch in the situation and then came too late to try and save the ball. It was a foul, of course, and a yellow card as well, but in my opinion it wasn’t a red card.

“We will try to appeal the red card and see what happens for Saturday.” 

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