HUDDERSFIELD, England (Reuters) - For those who miss the days of old-fashioned FA Cup ties, with big name players embarrassed by passionate upstarts in front of a raucous crowd, Huddersfield Town’s 2-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday was a true throwback.
True, it was a Premier League game and promoted Huddersfield have earned the right to be a part of the elite. But this was also giant-killing act from the old school.
Promoted Huddersfield smelt blood right from the start and flew into challenges, piled forward in attacks and grafted across the field against a United team who, as their manager Jose Mourinho conceded, did not appear to share that relish for the encounter.
“They played with everything, aggression, desire, motivation, sacrifice and we didn’t,” said Mourinho.
“The team that deserved to win won. Simple.”
His counterpart David Wagner, who has turned Huddersfield from Championship strugglers to a team that was capable of beating the 20-times title winners, also felt that the game was decided by those basic values.
“I haven’t thought about why Manchester United weren’t at their best. They have played a lot of games and they had injury problems. It could be they are not at their freshest, but we didn’t think about that,” he said.
“If this is our moment, we have to grab it, which is what the players did. Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd and it’s one of the proudest moments in my managerial career.”
For Wagner the win over Reading in the Championship playoff final at Wembley in May remains the highlight of his almost two years in charge of the Yorkshire club.
But beating Mourinho’s men is surely a close second.
The Terriers’ last win over United was in March 1952 and in the years in which the club struggled in the lower divisions many fans could have been forgiven for thinking such a fixture might never occur again.
Wagner may only arrived in Yorkshire in 2015, but his time in the area has been so packed with progress and achievement that he has no doubt of what Saturday’s win means to the club.
“I live in Huddersfield so I know a little bit how huge this result is for this town, for the supporters, for the chairman, for the board.
“I am totally aware that this is a very special moment. I am aware of it and happy about it and proud about it. In the end, like always we will be happy and then leave it in the past and move on to the next one.” he said.
That next one is at Anfield on Saturday against his mentor and friend Juergen Klopp.
Another big test for Huddersfield but one that Klopp will surely be extremely wary of.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar