Norwich City interim chief Alan Irvine does not expect Huddersfield to run out of steam
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Huddersfield's success is no surprise to Norwich City's interim boss Alan Irvine.
The Scot witnessed first hand the quiet revolution underway in West Yorkshire engineered by German head coach David Wagner which has swept the Terriers into the play-offs.
'To be honest, a lot of people have been surprised with what they have done this year. I wasn't,' he said. 'I was at Blackburn when we played them towards the back end of last year and I thought they were a very good team. I have seen them live a number of times and I like the way they play. They cause you a lot of problems the way they pass the ball and their movement to get people in areas that force you to make decisions defensively.
'I am not surprised to see them in the play-offs. Did I expect to see them compete for the top two? Probably not, and they are having a little bit of a difficult period, but they will certainly be in the play-offs and they will win a number of games between now and the end of the season.'
Town turned on the style with a slick Carrow Road league win prior to Christmas.
'I thought the game at our place was a classic match of two halves. They were excellent before the break, they deserved to be in front,' said Irvine. 'We were a lot better in the second half, not as good as they had been to be fair, but we could have got something out of it. They really push the full-backs on, particular the boy (Tom) Smith, which is something for us to be aware of. Smith can actually end up in your box, he has four goals from right back, and it is not as if they are set play goals. The way the wide players and the full backs interact is very good.
'Every team, every system, style, strategy has its strengths and weaknesses. That style can leave you vulnerable because if the full backs are that far forward there is perhaps space you can exploit. They will continue to play that way, I am absolutely convinced.'
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Wagner insisted in the build up it is too early to write-off Norwich's own play-off hopes, but Irvine knows it requires favours from elsewhere.
'We are running out of games, no doubt, and our chances depend on others slipping up but we have to do our job and keep some pressure on them,' he said. 'If we do that we give ourselves the best chance of closing the gap if anybody slips up. We have to win a fair chunk of the games.'