Sam Winnall spoke with the assembled media at Oakwell today ahead of tomorrow night's big game against Newcastle United.
Despite the Reds recent run of form, Winnall believes it’s been a great start when all things are considered. Just 12 months ago he was part of the side that were struggling in League One and now the Reds are 11th in the Championship. The striker feels that perspective is needed.
He told the media: “It’s been a big step up for us. Most of us are playing at this level for the first time in our careers, but nobody feels they aren’t confident that they should be at this level. Every player at the Club feels they deserve to be here in the Championship and it’s good that we’ve had a good start and particularly the strikers, who have all got off the mark early.
“I think we’ve been fantastic when you factor in just how far we’ve come as a group over the last year. At the moment we’re not in the best of form in terms of results, but this time last year we were in the relegation zone of League One. I think sometimes it helps to be a little bit realistic and have some perspective. Of course we want to do better, but we’re 11th in the Championship. We’re doing well.”
When asked about tomorrow night’s fixture at Oakwell when Newcastle United come to town, Sam played down the significance of the visiting team, preferring to focus on the objective – the three points.
He said: “It’s not a game where we’re going to be looking at it, looking at who we’re playing against and be star-struck or whatever. They’re at the same level as us. It doesn’t matter to me who we’re playing, it’s about the three points. That’s the case no matter who we’re playing, for Newcastle or any other team. It’s about us and how we approach games. But obviously they’re a good side.
“They’ve got lots of players who’ve played a lot of games in the Premier League, they have a lot of quality. But this is the level we’re at now. We have to treat each opponent with respect. Each team in this division has quality. So it will be a big test for us again tomorrow. But at the same time we’re looking forward to it. That’s why we’re enjoying the Championship so far because as players we’re testing ourselves every week.”
Winnall thinks mistakes and how you deal with them is the major difference between League One and the Championship from what he’s seen so far.
He explained the differences that he’s noticed, saying: “I think players read the game better, possibly. There’s a little less time as well I suppose. But the major difference is getting punished for your mistakes. I think that’s the case the higher you go up, it becomes more evident.
“I think that’s what happened on Saturday, we were punished ruthlessly for our mistakes. We need to reduce them, and take our own chances if we’re going to get anything from games.”
Last season’s top-scorer was on the score sheet again at the weekend with his third goal of the season. It was a terrific low finish that went in off the inside of the post, and he feels that he’s finding his best form which comes with a run of games.
“It’s difficult when you’re not starting every week to find a rhythm but that comes with competition I suppose. And I suppose that is a good thing, it keeps you on your toes.
“I felt good on Saturday. Obviously not with the result, but I was pleased with my goal and I know Marley (Watkins) was too. We scored very similar finishes. We created two chances and took both. It is pleasing when as a striker you’re finishing clinically. We need to create more chances though, we know that, whilst retaining that clinical edge from Saturday.”
You can see Sam Winnall’s full interview now on Barnsley Player HD.
Why not purchase your five-game flexi-ticket and enjoy huge savings on regular match ticket prices?!For more details please CLICK HERE.