David Wagner says the Huddersfield Town squad have shown their “special character” in adapting to a change in footballing culture – but this is just the start of the journey.
The German head coach has re-invigorated supporters with his gegenpressing style of full-throttle football but says the players deserve all the praise.
Double training days and evening preparation for night matches have now become the norm at PPG Canalside, but Wagner insists there is much, much more work to be done.
“I’m very happy with my backroom staff and the support of the club, but we are still in a period where we try to learn about each other and how we react in different situations,” said the man originally from Geinsheim am Rhein.
“I think we are all learning every single day and developing every single day and I feel we are on our way to progress, but in my opinion we are only at the beginning.
“It is very exciting and new – like when you have a new girlfriend! – and I have learned a lot about English football, the people and the market, while I’ve been here, and I will learn a lot more.
“The interesting part for me, of course, is seeing that our ideas are going out onto the pitch.
“That the squad have been able to transform so quickly to what we have in our heads is fantastic, and I can only praise the lads in the squad for their hard work and how open they are to a new approach.”
Town have three times as many wins now than when Wagner arrived.
“There has been a normal schedule in English football and people like Deano (Whitehead), Huddy (Mark Hudson) and Murph (Joe Murphy) have grown up in this culture, but now they are taking on board something completely new,” added Wagner.
“It’s like the difference between working say in England and then in Africa, if you get what I’m trying to say about the difference.
“I won’t say it’s better or worse, just different, but the young players through to the older ones are so open-minded about it that they deserve every credit.
“I think this shows the special character of our dressing room, and I’m happy they feel they are enjoying it out on the pitch and feeling it’s the right way.”