David laments first half showing
- David Wagner reviews defeat to Burnley
- Head Coach says team wasn't brave enough in first half
- Wagner much happier with second half display
Head Coach David Wagner believes his Town side was not brave enough to play its style in the first half of today’s 3-1 home defeat to Burnley.
The league-leading Clarets did a good job of disrupting Town’s passing rhythm and scored from two set pieces to lead at the break.
“We didn’t expect it to be easy today, but the story of this game is very easy to explain,” David told htafc.com.
“We played against a very strong side; very focussed, concentrated and aggressive, with a good game-plan and high potential individuals. In my opinion, Burnley is the best team in the league.
“In the first half we conceded two goals from set pieces, making two easy mistakes. In particular the second set piece was poor; we created it by making three mistakes, not hitting the ball into the stands when we should.
“This was hard on us, especially after getting the momentum of our goal that pulled it back to 1-2. Coming just before half time, this was hard to accept.
“Today, the set pieces were the key moments. We’ve only had two poor games defending set pieces; against Bristol City and today. Normally we are strong and focussed. On the other side, we have a lot of space to develop our offensive set pieces; both the delivery and finishing.”
However, David believes his team’s second half showing was a good illustration that Town’s game-plan can work against the best the Sky Bet Championship has to offer.
“I didn’t believe we were brave enough in the first half. We don’t want to change our identity. It doesn’t depend on the opponent; it depends on our quality
“At half time I told the players that we had to accept the situation, but I asked the lads to show their bravery and play our style of football.
“I thought they did a very good job in the second half, creating good chances to score. We stood on our front foot and were able to put pressure on a very good team.
“The second half showed that there is no problem in playing with our idea against Burnley; you just have to be brave enough. Sometimes there will be mistakes and the opponent will get a chance, but on the other side we are able to create chances. We have shown that often enough.
“This is not the first game where we have missed chances, but on the other side only two teams have scored more goals than us since I arrived. We can feel we are not clinical enough, but not many teams create more chances than us. I’m totally sure that if we keep doing this in the future, we will score goals and win games. On this side, I’m totally relaxed.”
Wagner made four changes to the side that won against Reading in midweek; a decision he stood firmly behind after the game.
“I think we made the right decision. Like always we wanted to win today’s game and we picked a starting XI to face this opponent. We made four changes to keep fresh bodies in the team, combined with a strong bench. We wanted to keep things ‘full throttle’ over the whole time.
“Our problems were that we didn’t score in the second period – and we conceded too many in the first half.”
One of the players to return after nine games out with an ankle injury was midfielder Emyr Huws, but David admitted that wasn’t the original plan.
“I thought he started pretty well and tired as the game went on. In my opinion that is totally normal,” David said of Emyr.
“I didn’t expect him to start today, but Phil Billing was sick after breakfast and that’s why we made this change. I didn’t expect him to play 90 minutes, but he had to because of the story of the game.”