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Hecky: "The players are giving absolutely everything."

2 January 2017

A delighted Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the media following the late victory over Nottingham Forest this afternoon..

The Reds Head Coach made four changes to his starting XI ahead of the encounter with Forest and explained his reasons for doing so whilst commending his players for a thoroughly professional display.

"I'm really pleased with the performance" he said. "We made a lot of changes, trying to freshen things up and play with a lot of energy but not getting too carried away either. We wanted to control the game, slow it down a bit when we had the ball and we knew we'd have enough quality to create chances. I felt first-half we had the better chances and should have been in front.

"I wanted more of the same second-half, knowing we did have fire-power from the bench if we needed it. Players who have played a lot during the season, and two days ago, I felt they'd have enough energy to come on and play 30, 40 minutes or whatever to win us the game. In all honesty, the game looked to be drifting towards a stalemate in the last 10 minutes but then a great strike from Conor (Hourihane) wins us the game."

The Skipper's sensational 30-yard volley late in the game was enough to clinch all three points for Hecky's side but the Reds Gaffer wasn't surprised, suggesting it's quite clear that his squad is full of match-winners capable of moments of brilliance.

He said: "It was some goal to win the game but that's what we've got in this team. We're always pushing the lads and getting them to believe we can win any game and we do that all the time, but sometimes it takes that bit of magic to get the breakthrough. But you can only - as always - win as a team. I thought Adam Davies had a real clean game, the two centre-halves were solid and the lads who've not played much performed really well too."

Barnsley set up with a different formation this afternoon having played most of the season in a 4-4-2, Hecky felt the changes he'd made in personnel and his ideas tactically necessitated the alteration in shape and gave a nod to Ryan Williams who made his first start for over a year. 

"The plan was always to go back to 4-4-2 second-half" he explained. "With the changes in personnel and the change of shape, we felt before the game it would allow us to be fresher in positions we're familiar with. It also helped us to counteract Forest and how they play, whether that be the 4-1-4-1 that they did go with or if they reverted to three at the back.

"Ryan Williams earned his start. He's been working really hard in training and we've not rushed him, he's earned it and he can be really pleased with his performance today."

Despite the latest victory taking the Reds up to eighth in the Championship table and just four points outside the playoffs, Hecky remained grounded when asked just how far the Club could go this season. 

"I'm looking at Blackpool away next week in the FA Cup, that's it! But of course it's a great start to the year and every win is a good win. We enjoy every one of them, we work really hard during the week and the players are giving absolutely everything and I think the fans are loving what they're seeing from their Barnsley team."

Paul Heckingbottom's full interview from the City Ground is over on Barnsley Player HD.

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