As Huddersfield Town fell to a seventh game without victory at Swansea City last weekend, head coach David Wagner urged his side to be braver in possession.
The German boss was of course referring to his players’ all too evident tendency for a slow and laborious build-up that has continually stifled Town’s creative ability in the final third.
It has seen the side score just once in their last seven outings with only the bottom two outfits AFC Bournemouth (4) and Crystal Palace (2) scoring less than Town’s total of five league goals so far this campaign.
However, creating chances and ultimately scoring goals to win games is not a new problem – Town’s shot-shy nature was prevalent throughout the course of last season’s promotion-winning triumph.
What the step-up to the Premier League has done is to sharpen the focus on these goalscoring inadequacies – top-flight chances are few and far between and teams have to take them when they come their way.
This is exactly what Swansea did last Saturday as Huddersfield Town’s goalkeeper Jonas Lossl delivered a gift-wrapped goal opportunity…
Now Town are not only struggling to score but their rock solid composure at the back which stood them in good stead earlier in the campaign seems to have deserted them as well.
Should bravery undoubtedly be the key to overturning the current slump then perhaps Wagner might throw caution to the wind in his team formation.
If the German is bemoaning his side’s agonising approach work then his 4-2-3-1 line-up is something that is becoming all too obvious.
Against the better teams, players and managers of the Premier League there has to be more scope for flexibility and adaptability – both between games as well as within them.
In search of the elusive goals which has also hampered Swansea City’s progress so far this term, boss Paul Clement changed his formation against Town to accommodate two wingers.
And it paid dividends with Town left-back Scott Malone particularly beset by problems caused by Luciano Narsingh throughout the Liberty Stadium clash.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Crystal Palace scored their first goals of the season to earn their first points by claiming the massive scalp of Chelsea.
Newly-appointed Eagles boss Roy Hodgson ditched the previous 3-4-3/3-5-2 formation so revered by predecessor Frank de Boer for a more tried and trusted 4-4-2 set-up.
And if forward Steve Mounié is fit as he is expected to be after his heel injury, then playing the Beninese forward alongside Laurent Depoitre is something Wagner might consider against Manchester United at the weekend.
Not only will it give Huddersfield Town another centre forward option but having two banks of four behind them is an ideal default position for a side who appear to be continually swamped in midfield and are conceding too many goals.
Last November the Examiner raised the issue of Town lacking any semblance of a Plan B in a side which were quickly becoming too easy to play against.
As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.”
The ‘goal’ is scoring which leads to the ultimate target of Premier League survival – how it is achieved is irrelevant.
The game which sparked such Huddersfield Town tactical heresy at the time? The 2-1 home defeat against Wigan Athletic.
A lot has changed in 11 months and all credit to David Wagner for those achievements.
But the likes of Manchester United are a much bigger proposition than the Latics and the approach to the challenge Huddersfield Town face at the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend has to reflect that.