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Hecky: "It was a very even game."

18 February 2017

Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the assembled media following the Reds' defeat at the hands of Brighton this afternoon at Oakwell..

Two second half goals from the visitors saw them run out 2-0 victors today, a victory which sent the Seagulls back to the EFL Sky Bet Championship summit but the Reds Gaffer felt the game was closer than that score-line might suggest, believing even that the Reds were on top for much of the contest but were undone by clinical Brighton finishing.

As he explained: "It was a very even game but one that showed why Brighton are at the top of the league. They were clinical at one end and really tight and stringent at the other, they didn't give us anything. The first goal is a kind of half-chance really, great finish, but before that I thought we'd had the better of the game.

"But it just shows, we spoke before the game about how Brighton are relatively comfortable winning games in any way and they won't have been phased by us playing well first half, been on top and dominating possession. They'd have gladly let that happen for 80, 90 minutes and won 1-0. But at any moment they have got that ability in the side, players in their side who can take these half-chances and make them count."

The Reds had dominated the opening 45 minutes against their high-flying opponents but came back into the dressing room at half time without a goal to show for their dominance. Heckingbottom felt the little percentages made the difference and that in getting the first goal it made Brighton's game much easier.

"At half time the message was we can't afford to give anything away" he said. "But then we got just the wrong side, three yards out of position and it puts us 1-0 down and then they're probably the best in the division when it comes to playing with a lead. They're known for it.

"They're very tough to break down so we had to score when we were on top. We actually had more attempts, more shots on target in the second half but I felt we played better in the first half in terms of controlling the game. But we did have one golden opportunity at 1-0 which would have totally turned the tide and then they get another chance which they've tucked away and it's 2-0. 

"But these are good players. They've (Anthony) Knockaert down the right, that little bit of magic and he's put it across and it was well finished."

With the game still goalless in the first half, there looked to have been a blatant handball as the Reds surged into the opposition box, but the referee Mr Coote waved play on, much to the frustration of those of a Reds persuasion. However, whilst acknowledging the decision went against the Reds, Hecky wasn't interested in that particular sob-story.

He said: "It's a definite penalty. But we're not a team that relies on the referee to get us results, we have to do that on our own but sometimes these decisions go against you and that definitely has today."

Despite the defeat, Heckingbottom felt there were positives to take from the game and explained that the focus now would move onto next week and preparing for a mouth-watering fixture back at Oakwell next Saturday when local rivals Huddersfield Town are the visitors.

"We can't just accept it" he stated. "We can't just accept that we're playing a side at the top with good players so we're going to get beat. We have to learn the little details, and we'll be doing that next week, what we can take from the game because we want to get to that stage where we're beating these teams and we've the best players. 

"That's our aim. We take things out of every game, win lose or draw. And it'll be the tiny details because more often than not they're the bits that count. But we'll work hard at that next week, we've a big Yorkshire Derby to look forward to and I hope for an electric atmosphere and a great game which it should be as it's against another very good team."

You can see Paul Heckingbottom's post-match interview over on Barnsley Player HD.

Tickets for next weekend's big game are still available, CLICK HERE for more information.

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