Barnsley U23s coach Paul Harsley believes the better team won as Burnley came away from South Yorkshire with a 3-0 victory on Friday afternoon.
The young Reds were undone by three goals in six second half minutes at Oakwell in a game where the scoreline perhaps didn’t reflect the hosts’ positive performance.
“The first half was alright; the second half was not so good,” admitted Harsley. “They were just a bit better than us, really - whether 3-0 was harsh, I’m not sure, but they’ve probably got a more consistent set-up than we have at the moment and that shone through in the end.
“I thought the first half was OK - we didn’t really create too many chances, but they at least kept the ball a little bit in a 4-3-3, which we’ve been trying to do.
“We didn’t really penetrate too many times though. I keep saying the same thing, it’s difficult with what we’re doing at the moment with the trialists.”
The visitor’s first goal was scored in somewhat fortuitous circumstances as Jordan Cropper - introduced as a substitute moments earlier - saw his cross float into the far corner to give Burnley the lead.
It proved to be a sucker punch for Barnsley, who had repelled everything the Clarets had thrown at them throughout the game.
“I don’t know if the cross got deflected, but it went in over the goalkeeper’s head and looped into the net,” continued Harsley. “Obviously the lad is in on trial, so it’s difficult for him but we’ll have a look at it and feedback to him.”
With so many players in on trial, it has been a challenge in recent weeks for Harsley’s side to build any forward momentum and cohesion.
However, the U23s coach remains optimistic about his group of players and is positive about the potential within the squad.
“We were talking about different things in the changing room,” said Harsley. “There’s a set of lads who have been here all year, if we look back to where we were at the start of the season with a settled side and good players pushing on - a settled team - we were a good side.
“Lads have gone out on loan and done well - that’s what we want, that’s what we’re here for - and other lads have got injured, and it’s just turned into trying to put a team out every week.
“Obviously now we’re playing Monday and Friday to finish the season; there’s not a lot of training - it’s just light training really.
“There’ll probably be some more faces come in on Monday, and we’ll try and have a look at them in a couple of games and try and see if there’s any little sparks that might be good for next season.”