Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the media after the Reds had to settle for a replay in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup against Blackpool.After a fairly subdued first half performance, the Reds came out much brighter in the second period and had a number of chances to secure the win, particularly with Conor Hourihane going close in second half added time. The gaffer was somewhat critical of his side’s approach to the opening period but was pleased with how they adapted as the game went on.
“We’re pleased to be in the hat for the draw, 100%, you have to be because you don’t know who’s going to come out (in the 4th Round). In terms of an assessment of the game, first half we were no where near, we weren’t brilliant with the ball in either half, but first half we didn’t perform our role at all. We didn’t adjust to their shape, which we know how to play it, but we addressed that at half time. The players know it, but we were no where near first half. Second half we performed our roles properly so it allowed us to dominate the ball and play in our half of the pitch, and control the game. However we were still loose in possession, and Blackpool were a threat on the counter and Davo (Adam Davies) had to make a couple of saves. Our best chances came right at the death, with Conor’s two really - apart from that we huffed and puffed but didn’t really work their keeper enough.”
Despite the two division gap between the two teams, Blackpool provided a stern test for the Reds and posed problems throughout. After being seen as the underdog in many his side's games in the Championship so far this season, Hecky feels that the players had to shift their mindset for the FA Cup clash with the League Two outfit.
“Subconsciously I think it can effect you but we spoke about being ‘the hunter’ to being ‘the hunted’, and that is how it is. We’ve been the underdog in the majority of our games, and we thrive on that, and today Blackpool we’re hunting us and that’s how it was, but the players still worked their socks off, even in the first half. If anything they did more running because it was unattached and we were all over the place. So that was the disappointing thing. Second half, like I say, once people are performing their roles, it was easier to win the ball back, it was easier to keep the ball, but we just didn’t have enough to open them up.”
The Reds enjoyed a lot of possession and chances in the second half, but likewise Blackpool enjoyed positive spells of their own and could have snatched victory if it wasn’t for Adam Davies in the Barnsley goal who pulled off two quality saves. Hecky was full of praise for today’s opponents and their approach to the game.
“They were fantastic. I’m speaking about our chances that we had and the end and could have won it, but likewise they had chances and they could say ‘we could have won it’. So we have to credit them. Like I say, they changed their shape and their system to play against us which we have to take as a compliment, but we have to be able to deal with it and win the game. So credit to Blackpool, I thought they were good throughout and even when we got on top and dominated the ball, they dug in and defended their box very well.”
Before boarding the team coach back to Oakwell, the Head Coach was relieved to be in the hat for Monday night’s Fourth Round draw and had special praise for the 3,000+ fans who made the trip from South Yorkshire and we’re superb throughout the game.
“I’m pleased to be in it (the competition). You’d rather win, of course you would, but you’d rather have the extra game and another chance than be knocked out."
“Certainly the noise and what I was hearing reflected the amount of Barnsley fans here compared to Blackpool. We’ve always brought good support here and the fact that the fans are enjoying the season means they’ve turned out in force.”
Full reaction from Paul Heckingbottom will soon be available on Barnsley Player HD.