Huddersfield boss Siewert condemns racist abuse of Billing
Jan Siewert has condemned the teenager arrested for allegedly racially abusing midfielder Philip Billing on social media.
West Yorkshire Police arrested a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday morning for posting an abusive message to Billing, urging him to leave the club.
But Huddersfield boss Siewert was reluctant to focus on the incident during his press conference before Saturday’s Premier League game at West Ham.
“First of all I can say we as a club, and me personally, we don’t tolerate something like this. This is unacceptable for me,” Siewert said.
“This is a brainless comment. Racism should not be tolerated and I can’t believe something like this still happens today.
“I spoke to Philip this morning and he is fine. He trained also today and we spoke about it and I back him.
“But we shouldn’t talk about this because it gives these people a platform. We should talk about the people who are exceptional in this country.
“We’re talking about one per cent instead of 99 per cent. Let’s talk about the 99 per cent and not of someone like this.”
Siewert said he did not know whether the incident was likely to force Billing to consider his future at the club.
“I don’t know. For me I was just talking to him about how he feels at the moment. I asked him if he was able to train and he said ‘yes, of course I’m able to train’,” Siewert added.
The Terriers will bid to put the brakes on their seemingly inexorable slide towards relegation at the London Stadium on Saturday.
They are 16 points adrift of safety with eight games remaining and Siewert admitted he had one eye on next season.
“There are still eight more games for us and we have to look at each player until the end of the season,” he said.
“Of course I’m making my mind up, every day, in training and the whole time because I have to look at how they perform and this makes my picture complete.
“At the moment it’s still about talking about the games and our way to play and there will be a time when I speak with the players.”
Siewert refused to discuss individual players, nor the length of their contracts, but said big changes in the summer could be expected.
“Potentially, yes,” he added. “May I repeat once more, in one year we have just four wins and this says something and we have to look at everything.”
Siewert confirmed Terence Kongolo might return to training on Friday after missing last week’s home defeat to Bournemouth due to a muscle strain and Tommy Smith is back in contention after suspension.
But fellow defender Erik Durm sustained a minor strain in training this week and is doubtful, while Jonathan Hogg, Laurent Depoitre, Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza, Demeaco Duhaney and Danny Williams were all still out.