Huddersfield boss Carlos Corberan urged his players to keep collecting points and let the promotion push take care of itself after another impressive win at Middlesbrough.
If Huddersfield can beat Barnsley at home on Friday they will be guaranteed a play-off place, and they remain in with a chance of catching second-placed Bournemouth as well.
Jordan Rhodes, who did not score at the Riverside during 18 months on Middlesbrough’s payroll, was instrumental in the 2-0 victory on Teesside.
With four minutes remaining of the first half, Rhodes nodded Sorba Thomas’ free-kick back across goal for Naby Sarr to head Huddersfield in front.
And on the hour Rhodes finished inside Luke Daniels’ top right-hand corner after Lewis O’Brien had rolled him in when Marc Bola played him onside.
“My target is to get Huddersfield in the highest position we can. If we can do that then we will be doing a good job. Our points are 73 and my target is to get the maximum number of points we can,” Corberan said.
“We need to focus on getting the maximum number of points we can. The more we have the higher we will be up in the table. That has to be our mentality.
“Every time when you play football you have to go for the games. We will enjoy today, celebrate and from tomorrow we will start the process to recover and focus on the next game. We are working hard to achieve the best position we can in the table.”
Rhodes’ goal was just his second of the season, but he looked in the groove throughout.
“Jordan’s contribution was massive for the three points of the team today. It was a very mature performance of the team from us all,” Corberan added.
“We played a very tough, hard and demanding game. One of the key things in games like this is to compete against this opponent, show a strong mentality and a competitive mentality.
“All of them were excellent. What was nice about the clean sheet is that it was not just because of the amazing save from the keeper it was because of all the good work of the team.”
While Huddersfield keep marching on, Middlesbrough’s four-match winless run – including three straight home defeats without scoring – has seen them drop out of the play-off places.
“The goals that we have conceded in those three games, four terrible goals. It’s not a good time, the timing has not been great for us not to cement a place in the play-offs through three home defeats on the spin,” boss Chris Wilder said.
“It is still alive. It is going to be a struggle to hide my emotions because I’m not a very good actor. I am deeply disappointed, we fancied it today. We set it up with good performance on Easter Friday (at Bournemouth) and after half an hour I was delighted.
“I am not looking beyond today, I am analysing today, the immediate reaction. And it is one of huge disappointment.
“They came to counter-attack, sit in and it’s not an issue. We had to break them down. It gets decided in both boxes, they defended their goal fantastically well.
“We didn’t risk enough, cross it enough, shoot enough, we didn’t manage to pick anyone out from good areas. The second goal was a huge boost for them.”
Wilder has been linked with the newly-vacant Burnley job in recent days, but he was not willing to engage in discussing that given the nature of his side’s defeat.
“Listen, I’m an emotional guy. We’ve just got beat from a footballing point of view. I’ve just got beat as manager of Middlesbrough, so I can’t stop any of that stuff (Burnley speculation), but I’m not so sure it’s the right time to ask anything like that after a really disappointing defeat from our point of view,” he said.
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