Huddersfield Town assistant manager Narcis ‘Chicho’ Pelach admits his side’s place at Wembley and promotion to the Premier League surprised him as much as anyone else – but says the team are beating full before facing Nottingham Forest in the play-off final.
The Terriers finished third in the Championship to earn their place in the play-off and beat Luton Town over two legs to set up their meeting with Forest in next weekend’s final, with the winner securing a place in the top flight next season.
Speaking to Diari de Girona, Chicho was asked if he had ever imagined reaching Wembley this season and he replied: “The truth is, no. It was a surprise. Firstly because we work in England and then because our expectations with Huddersfield weren’t to play a play-off or get promoted.
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“That wasn’t the club’s goal either, but little by little the team reacted and took over everything. We had a very good momentum during the season and now we have the chance to achieve a dream promotion. We’re in full swing.”
Chicho also commented on the tactical changes that have helped Town thrive this season, saying: “It’s funny because we came to the club with a unique idea and methodology, that of Marcelo Bielsa, because Carlos Corberan had was his assistant and they were promoted to Leeds. Our way of playing was very different.
“In the summer, we decided to change and take the team to other ideas to defend in space, in the zones. We also changed the idea of attacking to a more combinatorial and less vertical style. The change of mind and personnel, which has improved with transfer reinforcements, has brought us to where we are.
“Success depends on many things, but we managed to create a unity within the team to participate in every game. The technical staff is also better adapted to the country and the competition. It is noticeable.
“The type of leadership and training is very different, unique and special. Marcelo Bielsa is one of football’s greats and Carlos had the chance to share that with him. For us assistants, it is a pleasure to be able to work with Carlos, a person who has lived so close to a football giant.
“Indirectly, we learn a lot from that kind of methodology or from our own game design, even though we’ve now changed it. There are always influences. I feel privileged to have met Carlos because somehow I also benefited from Marcelo Bielsa’s knowledge.