Jose Mourinho’s sacking was not what David Wagner wanted to see ahead of Huddersfield’s Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford.
With fan favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer installed as caretaker manager, Manchester United promptly scored five goals in a match for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.
At the same time, Wagner was digesting a fifth straight loss for Huddersfield against Southampton, who benefited from the impact made by new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The Terriers’ first-half performance reeked of a side low on confidence and, while they did at least make a game of it after the break, Wagner knows his team must be at their best on Wednesday to have a chance of stopping the rot.
He said of Mourinho’s sacking: “Obviously I was surprised. I really feel for him. This is nothing what a manager in general likes to see. I don’t like that managers get sacked but especially if we play the teams soon after this happened, like (Southampton) as well.
“This is nothing that makes our work easier. I would stop this run against any opponent, I don’t care which one.
“The next one where we have a chance is United. It looks like not the easiest one but, like always in life and like always in football, every game gives you a chance and we will see what we can produce.
“For sure we have to play better than in the first half (against Southampton). The second half was the right reaction and we have to come back to recent performances to have a chance, and then we have to see how good United will be.”
Huddersfield beat Mourinho’s United at the John Smith’s Stadium last season before suffering a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
The reality of another relegation battle may have rubbed some of the shine off being in the Premier League but Wagner still wants players and fans to savour the occasion.
“These are the games which we all together wanted to have, what the Premier League is all about,” he said.
“Old Trafford on Boxing Day – I don’t think there are much better occasions which you can have.
“We will be there, we will try everything, and we have to make sure that we perform on a better level, even if we know it’s a difficult task.
“The good thing is we have some experience. We played there last year, it’s not the first time.
“We know we can’t make any mistakes. You have to keep them away from your goal as good as you can and – if you can – you have to create your own moments.”
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