Huddersfield Town hosted Watford at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, in a game which was seen as a ‘must win’ for the Terriers.
After a fairly even game, Mathias Jørgenson squared to Tom Ince in the box who struck the ball into the net in injury time to give David Wagner’s men a crucial victory in terms of the relegation battle.
Centre- back ‘Zanka’ spoke to the media after the game to discuss the performance, the goal and the fans.
The atmosphere was “buzzing”
When the goal hit the back of the net all the players were ecstatic, with keeper Jonas Lössl and manager Wagner running down the touchline to join in on the celebrations.
When asked to explain the emotions at this time, ‘Zanka said: “Well, it’s difficult. It’s still buzzing.”
“It’s been coming. I feel like we’ve been performing good, waiting for a moment like this, and for it to come in stoppage time, and the way it is’ on a sunny day in Yorkshire, it couldn’t be more picturesque,” he explained.
“It’s still buzzing. I don’t even want to go home. You just want to feed up the energy that’s here, wanting to stay out on the field if that would be possible. Its great, just great,” is how the Danish international explained the atmosphere in the dressing room after the win
Town left it late to allow the three points to stay in West Yorkshire, but the defender always believed that an opportunity would arise.
“I think especially after Hoggy’s (Jonathan Hogg) effort that went just wide we kept pushing. For some reason, I just felt like today was our day.”
“It felt like slow motion.”
‘Zanka’ was found in a very unusual position for him at the time of the goal, but he turned the match around by placing the ball back into the danger area.
“I was suddenly still up there after a long throw-in, and it just slotted home,” he said.
The 27-year-old was asked to explain exactly what happened during Huddersfield’s goal:
“Well, I know Lolo (Laurent Depoitre) is a big handful so I just thought if I run off him it might bounce down to me, and yeah it did, but it was too tight of an angle for me to do anything with it.”
“I thought; 'my left foot is so slow, so I might telegraph it, so let me whip it with my right foot and hope that somebody is in that hole and that it’ll go through if it gets past [Daryl] Janmaat',” he continued.
“It did, and from then on it just felt like slow motion until ‘Incey’ actually touched the ball, because you felt like ‘this could be it, this could be something’, and he meets it great.”
“Opportunistic run from him. Awesome,” he praised the winger.
“Today could be our day”
The Terriers have had chances in the dying minutes a few times this season, including in their 1 – 1 draw with Brighton from the weekend before, where they almost grasped a late winner.
This shows the determination and effort that the squad put in and that they never give in and will always fight until the end.
On this, he commented: “Especially today, I think we all can feel that. Today could be our day.”
There were some tense moments for all involved in the relegation battle prior to Town’s game, with the earlier 12:30 kick off.
Southampton were leading Chelsea 2 – 0, before the Blues ran riot for ten minutes in which they got three goals – and, crucially, all three points.
And it was clear that the players were keeping an eye on this before their own match.
‘Zanka’ said: “Especially we had the game Southampton – Chelsea going on, and you think ‘ok, 2 nil down for Chelsea’, then suddenly they turn it around’, and we think we can do something similar to that today.”
“A stoppage-time winner – nothing beats that!”
Another clean sheet
Watford were very well organised and limited the Terriers to only one shot on target throughout the whole game, which was the goal itself – meaning Town had to try an be clinical and take their few opportunities.
“I think at times they were standing behind and we were pressing and playing our game. I think that today was a great fought game and luckily it came to our side for once,” he said.
It was another clean sheet for ‘Zanka’ and his fellow defenders, which leaves Huddersfield ranked 8th in the league in terms of how many clean sheets they have kept – with the current top seven in the Premier League being the ones who have kept more.
“Basically, we all know that the defence is the backbone of our entire team and we defend with the entire team, and don’t really let them get to nay big chances today – which is great,” said Jørgenson.
“Then you only need one [goal], and today, we left it late, but it makes it feel a lot more better.”
A day and a game to remember
Throughout the season, Huddersfield have been known for their incredible atmosphere in the stadium, and the fans certainly proved this again on Saturday by being the ‘12th man’.
“Today is one of the days that our fans will remember for a long, long time – they’ll tell their children, their grandchildren, their grandchildren’s children about this. This day and this game, and hopefully this is what will help us push over the line,” he explained.
Huddersfield are now seven points above the relegation zone, with 4 games left to play – the next being in two weeks when they host Everton – and all their focus must be on this game.
“I think now we will be smart. We will leave our hearts here and people are going to be gone for a few days – get a little bit of rest for the body and mind,” he said.
Before continuing: “Then we come back – ready for a training week after next weekend. We will be in for some testing in the week too, but nothing crazy. Then it all about Everton two weeks from now.”
“We need to enjoy this win with our fans, ourselves and our families – and we start again in a week,” he concluded.