Defence isn't everything for Huddersfield, just look at Middlesbrough

David Wagner, Manager of Huddersfield Town looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Huddersfield Town at London Stadium on September 11, 2017 in London,...

Why David Wagner was right to criticise Huddersfield after West Ham defeat and how they can learn from Middlesbrough to avoid relegation.

David Wagner, Manager of Huddersfield Town looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Huddersfield Town at London Stadium on September 11, 2017 in London,...David Wagner, manager of Huddersfield Town, looks on prior to the Premier League match against West Ham United.

David Wagner did not hide his disappointment about how his Huddersfield Town side performed following a 2-0 defeat to West Ham United on Monday (September 11).

It may have seemed a little harsh to some. After all it was the Terriers first defeat and first goals conceded since being promoted from the Championship, but Wagner was not happy.

Andre Ayew of West Ham United (2L) scores their second goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Huddersfield Town at London Stadium on September 11, 2017 in London,...Andre Ayew of West Ham United (2L) scores their second goal during the Premier League match against Huddersfield Town.

"We were not good enough," the 45-year-old was quoted by the Yorkshire Post. "It was a deserved result, we were second best more or less in every area. Maybe the second half was slightly better.

"Our biggest problem was with the ball, I think we worked, we fought, we tried to keep the ball out of the goal but with the ball we were not good enough. We lost the ball too easy, we were never able to keep the ball.

"It makes no sense to play football without bravery and without liking to have the ball and to be comfortable on the ball. You have to be brave to play with the best. Today we have seen what happens if we are not brave enough."

Michail Antonio of West Ham United is tackled by Christopher Schindler of Huddersfield Town during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Huddersfield Town at London Stadium...Michail Antonio of West Ham United is tackled by Christopher Schindler of Huddersfield Town.

Wagner is no fool. He could not have guided Huddersfield to the English top flight for the first time since 1972 against the odds if he was. So it stands to reason that the German looked at the teams that suffered relegation last season.

Sunderland were the division's worst side throughout 2016/17, while Hull City left it too late to change manager and despite a gallant effort, Marco Silva could not keep them up. However, the one team he should really look to learn from is Middlesbrough.

Much has been made of the defensive record of Wagner's men this term and rightly so, with three consecutive clean-sheets before that defeat to the Hammers. Even then the Yorkshire outfit largely looked solid at the back.

Similar things were said about Boro, who had the tenth best defensive record in the top tier last campaign despite eventually finishing 19th. Unfortunately that was at the expense of goals in the 'for' column.

Huddersfield put three in against an out of sorts Crystal Palace on the opening day of 2017/18, but since then have scored just once in three outings. At West Ham striker Steve Mounie cut a lonely figure upfront with little service or support.

It is still early days, but Wagner calling his players out publicly suggests that he has already identified the problem. Now it remains to be seen whether he can address it.

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