David Wagner watched as his team fell apart and lost 4-0 to relegation fighting Bristol City.
A win would have taken Huddersfield to within three points of Brighton & Newcastle but now the top pair can go nine points clear of third if getting victories later today.
Newcastle kick off at Birmingham City in a 3pm kick-off, with Brighton then feature in a tough teatime clash, travelling to play (now fifth placed) Leeds United in a game starting at 5.30pm.
After the loss David Wagner was keen to say that this result must be seen as a one-off but he also declared ‘I have never spoken about automatic promotion…’, no doubt in an attempt to defuse the pressure now building on his players, with no doubt the Huddersfield boss maybe always seeing the play-offs as the most likely end result.
Of course, no room for complacency for Newcastle or Brighton, as they still need to put the points on the board and have their own recent slips fresh in the memory: Newcastle losing to Fulham and Brighton going down 3-0 to Forest. Nevertheless, with only nine games to go now, any slips by a team trying to close the gap are going to be magnified.
One other interesting comment from David Wagner is that ‘We always have to be near our best to be competitive’.
That is very likely the big difference between Huddersfield and the top two, with Newcastle and Brighton arguably having stronger squads and more experienced players, they are probably more capable of still picking up wins even when they dip below their best/better form.
David Wagner speaking after Huddersfield lost 4-0 at Bristol City:
“I have never spoken about automatic promotion and we now need to use the international break to refresh and respond to this result, we are back in two weeks.
“We are in a very good position with nine games to go and we have been through too much together as a group for me to question my players.
“To find reasons (for the defeat) sounds like excuses and I don’t like to find excuses for my players.
“I will not judge my players, this group, on one game.
“When we come back we will realise we are still in a great position and we could be excited for everything that is in front of us – It is a very busy April.
“We always have to be near our best to be competitive.”
By 7.30pm tonight, Huddersfield will once again have a game in hand but Newcastle and/or Brighton will not be worrying too much about that if they are then nine points ahead in the automatic promotion slots with only eight games to play.
Bristol City did the damage on Friday night with two goals in each half, Tomlin and Abraham scoring in the first and then Flint & Cotterill adding a couple more strikes in the second period.
Interesting statistics as Huddersfield dominated possession (62%), the clubs had only two corners (one each) between them and Bristol City scored their four goals from only five efforts on target.
How the Championship table now looks after Friday night’s results:
Elsewhere in the Championship, Reading moved above Leeds into fourth with a 2-0 win at sixth placed Sheffield Wednesday.
Reading are now 10 points behind both Newcastle and Brighton but have played a game more.