Huddersfield club captain Tommy Smith has paid tribute to David Wagner but says none of his team-mates are feeling sorry for themselves. Wagner and assistant Christophe Buhler left the club by mutual consent on Monday and under-23s coach Mark Hudson will take charge of Sunday’s home game against Manchester City. “There was shock, disappointment,” Smith said. “But ultimately we move on. It’s as simple as that, we have to, there’s a game on Sunday. “Life continues, the manager has now gone, the new manager’s going to come in, whoever that may be – but as a squad and as people we’ve got to continue moving forward.”
Smith said Wagner’s legacy will live on after he transformed the Terriers from Sky Bet Championship relegation candidates into a Premier League club in his first full season. “He’s changed people’s lives and not just the players at the club, the staff, the fans, he’s come in and been a massive part of what this club has achieved over the last three years,” Smith said. “Knowing the person he is, he will say it was a real team effort and of course it was, everyone’s got to pull in the right direction – but he was a massive turning point in this club’s history.”
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Smith was appointed club captain by Wagner following promotion to the top flight and the defender said he owed the German a big debt of gratitude. “Since the first day he walked through the door he made me believe that I could perform at a higher level than I already was,” Smith said. “He’s done a hell of a lot for me and a hell of a lot for the club, but for me individually I’ll be forever grateful, in terms of the captaincy role and making me believe I could perform a lot better than I previously was. I owe him a lot for that.”
The Terriers will take on City rooted to the foot of the table, eight points adrift of safety after halting a run of eight successive league defeats in last week’s goalless draw at Cardiff.
The club have refused to comment on reportsby German newspaper Bild they have made anapproach for Borussia Dortmund coach Jan Siewert and will not be making any announcements ahead of the visit of the champions.
Smith added: “It’s a tough game, but what an opportunity it is for everyone at the club now. That’s how we’ve got to look at it. “Certainly for Mark and (under-17s coach) Dean (Whitehead), I couldn’t think of two better people to take over for this game. “It’s a fresh start moving forward and what better occasion to come up against Manchester City?”
Smith has also refused to give up on the Terriers’ fight for survival. “It was mission impossible for us to get promoted and we did it, it was mission impossible for us to stay up last season and we did it,” he added. “It’s going to be another one this season but we’ll give it our best shot as we always have done.”