By Sky Bet’s Dale Tempest
A huge mental reaction is needed by the Huddersfield Town players as they return to action against Swansea City.
While fans are generally keen for the Premier League – and all the divisions – to carry on, in some ways I reckon David Wagner may have been quite pleased with the international break after the thrashing by Tottenham.
It’s been a chance to take a breather, working with the players he had left – and let’s hope Aaron Mooy returns unscathed from his trip to Malaysia and Australia to face Syria – ready to focus on the job in hand against Swansea.
I wish I was within a few hundred points of Mooy’s air miles!
Collectively, Town have looked fine in the Premier League.
As a unit, they have defended solidly, they are well organised and well disciplined and they know exactly what they are about.
But what the head coach alluded to after the Tottenham game was absolutely spot on – individual errors are simply things a team can’t deal with.
The Chris Lowe v Scott Malone debate will go on among Town fans for quite a while.
And maybe Wagner might look to make a change.
However, a Tottenham fan did tell me that while Malone was the best left-back in the Championship last season, when Tottenham played them in the FA Cup at Craven Cottage, they ripped Malone apart on the way to a 3-0 victory (Harry Kane got a hat trick, but more of him later).
One worry for Town is that they have failed to score in nine of the last 14 matches in all competitions.
The goals and the chances simply aren’t arriving, but that isn’t anything new.
This is a Town side that won promotion last season with a negative goal difference, which is absolutely unheard of.
It’s going to be a season of 0-0s, 1-0s and 1-1s – and if you are having a bet on the Swansea v Town match this weekend then maybe those are the markets you need to look at.
That’s especially so as Swansea have managed just 11 shots on target all season – the fewest in the Premier League.
If ever a game was screaming out 0-0, then perhaps this could be it!
I mentioned earlier the situation of Mooy, having to travel around the globe, and it’s one which managers deal with.
The players will gather back together and very little work will actually be done. A massage here and there, some relaxation, a bit of gentle work – but then also a tactical reminder of the responsibilities and roles the players must play within the group.
Let’s be honest, we knew that the 12 games against the top six were going to be tough and any points gained would be a bonus.
That leaves 26 matches to achieve Town’s objective of staying in the division.
These are the games that matter.
These are the games that will mean Town stay in the Premier League.
The minimum requirement for Town from the Swansea trip is a point.
But fingers crossed a 1-0 victory is something Town could be celebrating as they make their way home from the Liberty Stadium.
Just to finish, a word about Harry Kane.
He scored an incredible 13 goals in September – and it was excellent of the Town fans to recognise his performance at the John Smith’s with a terrific ovation.
It was a clinical, brilliant performance and the Town supporters appreciated his all-round play, which is something that doesn’t happen anywhere near enough.
Kane’s movement, energy and link-up play with his teammates is wonderful, and he does look like the perfect centre forward.
He will be scoring goals against every team in the Premier League this season, not just Town – that’s for sure.