Huddersfield head coach David Wagner saluted his side’s character after they bounced straight out of the Premier League’s relegation zone with a thumping 4-1 win against Bournemouth.
The Terriers secured their first points of 2018 and their first Premier League win since mid-December thanks to Alex Pritchard’s first goal for the club, a Steve Mounie header, Steve Cook’s own goal and Rajiv van La Parra’s stoppage-time penalty.
Junior Stanislas had cancelled out Pritchard’s early opener – which was also the 24-year-old playmaker’s first Premier League goal – but Huddersfield halted their five-game losing run in the Premier League in style.
“It was a huge win for all of us,” Wagner said. “We said before the game that this is massive for us and that after Old Trafford we had the difficult fixtures behind us.
“Now it’s time to build up momentum against opponents which are in front of us, against whom we are more competitive.
“But it’s one thing to speak about it and another thing – and this shows character – to do it and the players have done that.”
Last week’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester United had plunged Town into the bottom three for the first time and Wagner was delighted with his players’ response.
“We’ve seen some fantastic individual performances from some of our players and collectively we attacked very well,” he said.
Pritchard marked just his second start for the Terriers and first at the John Smith’s Stadium following his switch from Norwich for a reported £12m last month with an eye-catching display.
“He was a handful. His link-up play was very good. He played fantastic,” Wagner said.
“He worked defensively very intelligently. He is a talent and this is why we signed him.”
Wagner was also delighted with Mounie’s contribution and joked Van La Parra had denied him his second goal after deciding he would take the late penalty.
“Steve worked very well with Pritchard as the first defender. It was an outstanding performance,” Wagner added.
“He didn’t score his hat-trick [at the time Wagner was speaking, Cook’s own goal had been given to Mounie] because Van La Parra had an idea – a good one to be honest – and I’m happy he scored this penalty, even if I think Steve probably expects an assist in future because he stole his hat-trick!”
Wagner confirmed Aaron Mooy had not suffered a serious knee injury after being carried from the field on a stretcher in the second half, but had required stitches in a cut.