Huddersfield manager David Wagner spoke to the media ahead of the game to discuss the importance of the supporters, injury updates and how they can play with “freedom.”
“This is a game for our fans”
With the Terriers currently sitting 17th, Premier League survival is their priority – especially ahead of a run of ‘winnable’ fixtures, which will surely determine where they finish.
“The priority since day one is the Premier League – since we started the season, but this doesn’t mean automatically that we don’t like to be successful in the other competitions as well. For sure we would like to be successful tomorrow,” said the German boss.
To reach this round, the Terriers had to play 120 minutes in a Fourth Round Replay against Birmingham City – where they eventually won 4 – 1, and Wagner said: “The players fought 120 minutes in the re-game against Birmingham to come into the Fifth Round – to play United at home.”
“Now we will do anything but worry about this situation. We are happy. We are excited. We are glad to be involved,” he added.
The 46-year-old has praised the Terrier’s support all season, as have thousands of others from up and down the country, and he said: “This is a game for our fans – for our supporters. This is our present for them, that we play United in the Fifth Round of the cup at home. In the FA Cup – the oldest competition in the world.”
“We will try everything to create, together with our supporters, the FA Cup atmosphere. This is what we ask our supporters. They know how important they are. If we like to have this small chance – and if we have a chance we like to use it – then we need them again on the highest-level tomorrow from the stands, under the floodlights,” Wagner commented.
Wagner updates on Team News
Wagner is without a handful of players tomorrow, as he gave an update on his side’s current injuries: “It is a great occasion, a great situation, a great moment – even if we have some injury problems at the minute. Apart from Aaron [Mooy – knee injury], ‘Heff’ [Michael Hefele] is ill – so he will miss tomorrow’s game.”
“[Alex] Pritchard is cup tied, Chris Löwe has a hamstring problem – he will be back in training next week, and ‘Scanny’ [Sean Scannell] got a shoulder injury when he played on Monday with the Under 23s – he is out for 4-6 weeks,” he further added.
Long term absentee Elias Kachunga remains unavailable as he continues his rehabilitation training, after suffering an MCL knee injury in December.
Huddersfield will play with “freedom” without three points to worry about
Huddersfield will surely be the underdogs in this game, despite them beating the Red Devils 2-1 last time they visited the John Smith’s Stadium back in October, and on this Wagner said:
“We can play this game with all the freedom which we have [because it’s the cup,] against one of the biggest names in world football, at home at the John Smith’s Stadium.”
“What is better than this? I now have been here two and a half years – and if there was one game where we really can play a game totally with freedom then its tomorrow. It’s cup, at home, Man United.”
“We have shown that we can cause them some problems. At least defensively we find our setup again to give them no spaces – then we can cause them problems again. We have to be on our best for sure – in terms of the focus and concentration,” the German added.
Wagner feels that; “We only can win tomorrow. For this, we need our supporters at their best. That they create this FA Cup atmosphere that everyone is speaking about, which usually always is there if a surprising result happened in the past, then there was always such a special atmosphere in the stadium.”
The Terriers have already faced Mourinho’s men twice this season – winning at home, and losing 2- 0 at Old Trafford, and on this he said: “To be honest, usually if United plays Huddersfield three times, they will not make twice mistakes.”
“We altogether know that in football everything is possible. We will see. If there is a chance, a small one, then we will be there and try to take it for sure,” Wagner commented.