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Interviews

Paul Heckingbottom's thoughts ahead of Bolton Wanderers trip

1 December 2017

The Reds Gaffer met the press at Oakwell to look back on the midweek defeat at Reading whilst going on to preview Saturday's match at Bolton.

The Reds' third straight defeat without scoring is obviously not how Heckingbottom will have wanted his Barnsley side to have ended November. 

But the Head Coach believes that whilst the current run of form isn't good enough, there are reasons for it and as ever, lessons are being learned in what is a huge learning curve for the league's youngest squad of players.

"I don't feel any differently 48 hours later," Hecky started. 

"I've watched the Reading game back, and I've looked at the stats from the game and you can look at it like it was an even game. But it wasn't. Because they were good in the final third and inside their own box.

"We conceded three goals from their four shots on target, we had more shots than they did but less on target. They made more blocks, more interceptions, so they defended properly. They were better than us. So stats can be deceiving.

"It was one of those days. When you look at each goal, it's a mistake, a mistake or a 'should do better'. In every case. From giving the corner away, not marking the man in the box, or losing the ball cheaply, not closing the man down, not saving the shot from distance. 

"We're going to make mistakes, even if we win we'll make mistakes. But if you're going to make mistakes like that, one after the other, you're going to give goals away."

With defeats come questions, and the Gaffer was happy to explain why he believes the Reds have struggled over the last 10 days or so, after what had previously been a promising run of form. 

He spoke of giving 'others' an opportunity and the idea of trying to rest certain players with such a busy winter schedule with games coming thick and fast.

As he explained: "Some of our more experienced and more consistent performers haven't quite maintained their standards. And then others who've been wanting to show they deserve to play, they've failed to take their opportunity.

"But like I keep saying, we have to learn and find out about these players and the best way we do that is by playing games. You can't really do that on the training ground. I can speak and coach them, but the best way is to judge them by their actions, and that's in games.

"I had to calm down a bit after the game on Tuesday, my staff were really good in talking me down because we have to remember where we are and what we're doing. We need to remember where these players have come from. There's going to be inconsistencies. 

"I want us to win every game. I want us to play a certain way. So it's frustrating for me as much as it must be for fans. But again, it's a reality check for everyone. The players more so, me, the staff, the fans, the club."

And so it's another away day this Saturday, with Barnsley looking to get back to winning ways at Bolton. 

Phil Parkinson's side currently sit inside the relegation places but Hecky is more than aware of the threats that Wanderers will possess and believes it will be yet another tough test for his young side.

"Every game is classed as a big one by the media. But this is no different to us. We're always focused on whatever the opposition are. We do our work on what they're about, what they bring. 

"I've seen quite a lot of Bolton and the difference in them after recent form, once they started picking up results is so easy to see. The organization, the work-rate and their intensity has gone up massively. 

"They don't take chances in possession, they play forward quick, earlier. They're a big threat from set-plays. I think they've got 50% of their goals from set-plays. They aren't free-scoring but that's a major threat they have. They're very dogged and make it very difficult for teams."

Spend Christmas here at Oakwell!

Hecky finished by asking the supporters to continue to back their team, believing that support can prove vital if the Reds are to return to form on the pitch. 

He said: "Everyone has to understand where we are. Some days, even our very best won't be good enough. That's how it is. But we have to at least be at that best, for us to compete. We've already seen that we can do that. It's very rare that when we are on our game, that we end up losing. 

"Can the team always perform at that level, probably not. And that's why I might have to find the best team and stick with it now. Because it's a results business ultimately, no matter your long-term plans and what not. 

"But if we are at our best more often than not, we will be alright. 

"The fans don't realise how much of an impact they have. I've been one. I've been out there and it's easy to get carried away. It's the passion inside, I get that. But nothing has changed from the start of the season. Objectives haven't changed, and my message like this has never changed.

"These lads have been thrown together and they're giving everything to be as good as they can be. 

"So they need that backing. They need the help. And they need the support."

You can see the Gaffer's full press conference video over on iFollow.

#COYR


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