Football

Wagner: Don't write off 'small terrier' like Huddersfield

Huddersfield boss David Wagner hailed his side for continuing to defy the odds after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Sheffield Wednesday sent them to Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Goalkeeper Danny Ward was the hero with spot-kick saves from Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri to earn victory after the two sides ended their two-legged Championship play-off semi-final locked together at 1-1.

Steven Fletcher had headed the Owls in front six minutes into the second half, but Huddersfield responded and were level 22 minutes later when Tom Lees turned a Collin Quaner cross into his own net.

Wagner said: "I'm happy and proud of what my players have done today and over the whole season.

"They were 1-0 down at Hillsborough and everybody knows how difficult this occasion can be, and they bounced back - you should never write this group off.

"Most pundits said before the season we would be in relegation trouble or maybe get relegated, and now we are only one step away from the Premier League.

"This shows what an achievement it is for this low-budget club - the small dog, the small terrier but they have character and belief and trust in what they do."

Wagner said leading his side out at Wembley will mark the high point of his career to date - and joked that as a German, he had little doubt about the outcome of the penalty shoot-out.

Wagner added: "We are very proud and even Germany know Wembley - maybe with the Maracana in Rio it is the highest place you can go to play a football match and now we are there.

"To reach the final in the time that I'm the manager, it is the biggest achievement so far.

"I joked in the pre-match press conference that Germans are able to take penalty shoot-outs but, to be fair, we had a Welsh goalkeeper - this is the first step for the British."

Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal said he would sit down with owner Dejphon Chansiri to discuss his future after the Owls' dramatic defeat.

Speculation has been mounting over whether Carvalhal will stay at Hillsborough despite the club making progress under his reign.

Carvalhal said: "It is not the time to talk about my future - there are too many rumours around and things that don't make any sense." - PA SPORT

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