It’s easy to forget just how inexperienced David Wagner is.
Whilst there are many negative connotations attached to the label of ‘inexperience’, over the course of the past two seasons, David Wagner has made a mockery of the claim that experience is necessary to be successful in English football.
David Wagner took a misfit Championship side that was treading water and surpassed teams with far greater wealth, experience and resources to earn promotion to the Premier League.
Despite defying all the odds last season in what was truly a fairytale story, the next couple of weeks will determine whether this fairytale story will have a cruel ending.
Undoubtedly, this will be David Wagner’s biggest challenge to date and he knows just how big the task he faces.
Having been written off by all and sundry before the season began, it is worth noting that the fact that Town are in the position they are, with a three-point buffer above the relegation zone, is a remarkable feat in and of itself.
However, it could’ve been so much more.
First we had the frustration of not finding a way past Swansea’s resolute defence. That was then compounded by the defeat against Crystal Palace. These were two golden opportunities which could’ve gone a long way to securing Town’s Premier League status for next season.
Rather than sitting pretty in the top half of the Premier League, Town are now looking over their shoulders and at this point, it looks like they will be dragged back into the relegation dogfight.
Wagner will need to use every ounce of managerial acumen and motivation to lift his team for the run-in.
However, a promising sign is the mentality the squad has shown over the course of this meteoric climb.
Up until this point in Wagner’s short managerial career, when his side has needed to turn up in the crucial moments, for the big occasion, they have.
Whenever Wagner’s side have needed to produce a performance or find a result from somewhere, they have.
The coming weeks will present the exact same scenario.
Whilst the pressure will mount in the coming weeks, at the same time, opportunities will arise. Wagner and his squad have happy memories of St James Park and more broadly of recent encounters against Brighton.
If Town can find a way to get past the disappointment of recent weeks and begin to accumulate points once again at a steady rate, Premier League survival under Wagner’s tutelage will not only have been his biggest challenge but his greatest achievement to date.