Barnsley Head Coach José Morais has highlighted the bittersweet nature of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with survival rivals Bolton Wanderers at Oakwell.
Gary Gardner’s first-half opener gave the Reds hope of a vital three points, before Adam Le Fondre dispatched an 82nd minute penalty to level the scores. The visitors carried their momentum further, substitute Craig Noone quickly putting Bolton in front, before a stoppage-time equaliser from Oli McBurnie denied the Trotters victory.
“We have mixed feelings, the penalty was the key decision in changing our mood of the game,” Morais said.
“Sometimes it is possible to have stability and win games 1-0, without needing the second goal to kill it off.
“The referee gave a penalty against us which was the turning point, but I also felt it should have been a penalty against them, for the push by the central defender on Kieffer Moore in the second half. I feel sorry because therefore we don’t have the three points which could put us in a totally different position.”
Morais was happy with the way the team recovered to salvage the draw and sees the capabilities in the squad, but acknowledged work needs to be done to keep hold of slender leads in games.
“I believe that the team are capable of making these positive moments, like the late equaliser,” the Head Coach stated.
“The emotions of games are different now because we are at this end of the season, and it could affect the decision-making of players, but what I felt is that after a certain moment, we won control of the game, scored, had opportunities and had stability. This is how I really want the team to keep going for 90 minutes.
“With patience, things will happen in order for us to win the points. We don’t have to lose our shape or hurry a lot, and we need to show our organisation when we are leading by one goal. In the future, I aim to see these games out and when we need to, to win 1-0.”
The Portuguese talked about the huge importance of McBurnie, who since arriving on loan from Swansea City in January has scored eight Championship goals, and been called up to the senior Scotland squad.
“It was a shame for Oli’s goal to be the equaliser rather than the winner, but it was a hugely important goal. He has a very good record, and wherever he could progress in the future, I am happy for him, but no coach would be happy to lose him.
“Oli is not only a great player, but an extraordinary person as well. The quality that he has as a human and a player is unbelievable, and I am happy for the coaches who will work with him in the future.”
Looking ahead to next weekend’s trip to Elland Road to face former Head Coach, Paul Heckingbottom’s Leeds United side, Morais said the team will have one aim: to win every remaining match.
“We are looking to win every game we have in front of us. Things are still in our hands, we feel we really need to go to Leeds and get the three points.
“We are running out of time now, and we must be positive to look for the right results.”