How to stay sharp during such a long wait for WembleyAnimated and passionate on the touchline…yes. But throughout this season, Jaap Stam has cut a calm, measured, relaxed figure when he has spoken to his players or the media both before and after games – home or away, win, lose or draw.
And a third placed finish suggests it has worked well. Unaccustomed to having to wait for nearly two weeks between games, the need to be able to relax and take your mind off football has been even greater during the 300 or so hours that have separated the full time whistle against Fulham and the first whistle at Wembley on Monday afternoon.
“It’s been longer than a week of course, too many days really and we’re not used to that – it’s totally new,” the manager said at a sunny Hogwood Park yesterday.
“But we had some time to relax, the players had some time to enjoy themselves after the win over Fulham.
“It’s a long week in terms of not playing, and the number of days in training, but it is good as well because we have been able to pay some extra attention to Huddersfield.
“A few players have needed a bit of rest, a bit of treatment. And now, everybody’s looking forward to it.”
The Terriers have had slightly less of a wait, reaching Wembley with a penalty shootout win at Hillsborough a few days after our Fulham triumph.
“I saw bits of that game live, but not everything. We taped it and we’ve seen the game since as well as others. But as I have mentioned before, I’ve got a family as well!
“It’s nice, when you’ve got some time off towards the end of a very busy season, to occasionally do something else – to go out and have lunch or dinner with the family somewhere. So that’s what I’ve done.
“You need to do some other things as well as football. We all enjoy our jobs – and this season has been great for us and everyone at the club.
“But the job can have it’s stressful moments and the majority of days in the year you’re thinking about football. So if you have some time off, you need to have time to relax and to think about other things - because that keeps you sharp when you need to focus on football. And now, with less than a week, we’re all looking forward to the game.”