Huddersfield Town won praise from Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal as he hailed the “unbelievable” performance which sealed the derby spoils and a third successive win.
David Wagner’s side were sunk by Fernando Forestieri’s late goal at the John Smith’s Stadium as the Owls went fifth to boost their bid to make the Championship play-offs.
While Town are still eight points above the drop zone, they slipped to 18th, but Carvalhal, whose side were backed by 3,941 fans in a ticket-issued crowd of 15,469 branded them a dangerous side.
“The best thing I can say to Huddersfield is that we played against them like we play against the best teams in the Championship,” said the 50-year-old Portuguese head coach, who took over at Hillsborough in June.
“We went into the match with a plan to play as a unit, block the spaces, cut the dynamic of the opposition and of course try to score goals when we have the ball.”
Wednesday survived a late Town penalty appeal to keep a fifth clean sheet in six games and Carvalhal added: “Our defensive organisation was almost perfect.
“The transition to attacking was good, the reaction to win the ball back was almost perfect too and this was an unbelievable performance from my players.
“They are focused and they are doing exactly what we intended for them to do. We knew we would get our moment and when that moment came Forestieri took his chance.”
It was a 14th goal of the season for the controversial Argentinian-born former Italy Under 21 striker, who cost £3m from Watford last summer.
Forestieri has a reputation for gamesmanship, but Town boss Wagner said: “He has good qualities. It is hard to defend him one against one, it has to be as a team.
“I thought we did it well overall because he is everywhere on the pitch, not really a striker. You have to have very good communication and concentration.”
Wagner decided to take off Mark Hudson in the 58th minute after he was warned by referee Iain Williamson following a touchline challenge on Forestieri.
The Town skipper, who was replaced by Martin Cranie, had already been booked for fouling the frontman.
“It was clear there was a danger of Huddy being sent off,” explained Wagner. “We wanted to make sure it was 11 v 11 to the end.
“That is why we made the change and I thought Martin Cranie came into the game well.”
Town’s development team returned to the top of the Under 21 Professional Development League II North table with a 4-0 win over Brentford at PPG Canalside.
Fraser Horsfall, Jake Charles, Rekeil Pyke and Jack Boyle scored for Town, who included Under 16s Ryan Schofield (in goal) and Jordan Williams.