Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner has offered an explanation for leaving midfielder Alex Pritchard out against Crystal Palace on the weekend.
The Terriers haven't won a game this season and are hanging above the relegation zone in 17th place after losing 1-0 to Roy Hodgson's Eagles on Saturday through Wilfried Zaha's strike.
Pritchard's exclusion from the starting lineup must have left many Huddersfield fans baffled, but even more mystifying was Wagner's decision to go through the entire match without using him.
The manager has since given his reasons for not playing the 25-year-old against the Selhurst Park outfit, claiming that he wanted his players to focus on width, whereas Pritchard is best used centrally.
“We made it clear this is exactly what we wanted to avoid – playing centrally,” he said in quotes cited by The Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
“This is where Crystal Palace are very aggressive and they are very good in the transition, so you shouldn’t play in that area, centrally.
“As everybody knows, Pritchy is a player who likes to play centrally and likes to take the ball in the central position between the lines. But this is exactly where Crystal Palace are very strong.”
“We thought, and I think we have seen, that we could maybe hurt them on the wings with overlapping and underlapping, with crosses on the wings and diagonal balls – not centrally.
“This was our game plan and, unfortunately for Pritchy, it wasn’t our game plan to play centrally and in between the lines, where he can use his back-foot turns and his ability.
“We wanted to bring the ball wide with diagonal balls, or with our wing-backs and then cross the ball – and I think everyone saw the players did it very well and created some moments. But this is exactly the tactical reason Pritchy wasn’t involved.”
The Terriers have only been able to take two points from their first five matches this season and are still in search of their first win. They will be playing Leicester away next Saturday but that will be followed up by a home fixture against Tottenham.