Wagner hopes Klopp call will drive Wembley push

Date published: Thursday 11th May 2017 4:32

David Wagner: Huddersfield on top

Huddersfield boss David Wagner received a call from Jurgen Klopp wishing him good luck with what the Terriers manager insists is a vision and not a dream.

Wagner will send out his side for the first leg of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, with the prize of a place in the Premier League tantalisingly close.

Victory over Wednesday, and then either Fulham or Reading in the final at Wembley, would see the Terriers return to the top flight for the first time since 1972.

“It isn’t a dream, it’s a vision,” said German manager Wagner.

“I’m not a dreamer but I have visions, and the difference between a dream and a vision is, in a dream, you dream and you wake up and you didn’t really know what happened. In a vision you know the steps which you have to do to come to this vision and this is exactly the difference we have in our heads.

“We have steps in our heads which we have to do to maybe come to our vision. To play in Wembley in the final is the next step in our vision and would be a very big achievement and a very big moment for every player. And we will try everything, because nobody knows if this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

The similarities between Wagner and Liverpool boss Klopp, both in their manner and the style of football their teams play, is inescapable.

It is also no surprise given Wagner worked closely with his friend as manager of Borussia Dortmund’s second team before following Klopp to England in November 2015.

The level of interest was rather different but the spotlight has shone ever brighter as Wagner turned Huddersfield from Championship strugglers to unlikely promotion chasers.

“We’ve spoken today by phone,” said Wagner. “Of course he wished us all the best.

“I’ve spoken with him about his experience in games with two legs because he has more experience when he played Champions League or Europa League. I’m totally sure if he has the time he will watch the game.”

Wagner’s exploits have led to him being linked with a number of clubs in England, and this week there has been talk he could be targeted by Dortmund this summer.

“It isn’t the first speculation about me this season, and I’m still here,” said Wagner with a chuckle.

“It doesn’t really bother me. I have with the football club the two biggest games in 45 years in front of me so everything else is totally irrelevant and I’m totally focused on these two matches.”

Huddersfield ended the regular season with three losses in four games and were beaten by Wednesday in both their league meetings.

They are boosted by the return of top scorer Elias Kachunga from a calf injury, although number one keeper Danny Ward is suspended.

Wagner was keen to play up Huddersfield’s underdog status – a role he believes can work in their favour.

He said: “I think the roles are clear. We are the underdogs. Sheffield are the big, big favourites, everybody knows how much money they spent and what they have done in the last two years.

“They were consistently on a high level but I think we were underdogs over the whole season. We are used to this role and it doesn’t change our ambitions.

“We play in this semi-final to come into the final. We will try our best, we will prepare as good as we can. I think there will be no surprises on both sides.

“I have always said to the players they don’t have to feel pressure because they know what they have to do, and if you know what you have to do, you only have to deliver – this isn’t pressure. The pressure is for sure not on us on Sunday.”

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