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Winkler: "The players can't lose focus."

Pre-match thoughts ahead of Charlton clash

28 December 2018


Winkler: "The players can't lose focus."

Pre-match thoughts ahead of Charlton clash

28 December 2018

The Reds' Assistant Head Coach met the press at Oakwell today to preview Saturday's clash with Charlton Athletic in Sky Bet League One and he urged his side to maintain their form ahead of another big test.

Back-to-back victories with clean sheets to boot, it's safe to say that the Christmas period has been a happy one for the Reds. 

Assistant Head Coach, Andreas Winkler admitted as much when he spoke with the gathered media at Oakwell earlier on Friday.

“We’re really happy with how it’s gone so far,” he told us.

“Our players showed in these matches that if they’re composed, if they’re focused and match that with their effort then we can win any match.

“There’s been a lot of work on the training pitches and it’s pleasing for us that the squad have reacted well.”

There was a timely return in midfield with Kenny Dougall making his first start since October in the victory over Peterborough on Boxing Day. 

Winkler feels that the schedule being as it is in this division makes it good news that Daniel Stendel has near-enough a full squad to select from right now.

As he explained: “Kieffer Moore is back training today, so he’ll be available for Saturday. It was great to have Kenny Dougall back with us also.

“We have lots of games so we need as many players available as possible.

“We don’t want to make things too easy for the opposing teams so it’s good that we can change things, players or shape. It’s easier to implement the high press if we have two strikers, but in the last match we see that in a 4-3-3 we have more midfielders and they attack the box.

“The gaffer is in a good position because we have almost everyone fit and able to play.”

After conceding far too many goals throughout November, it seems the Reds have improved defensively in recent weeks. 

Andreas emphasised the effort gone in on the training ground and admitted his satisfaction with the recent clean sheets accrued.

“I’m very pleased about that,” Winkler stated firmly.

“We have talked about that in the last weeks, what is our problem. If we’re not ruthless enough, not defending together as a team, as a unit, it’s my opinion that if we do all that and get a clean sheet then the rest follows.

“It’s not about only the defence. Defending as a team is the key, and it starts with the attacking line. And it’s improved very much in the last matches.”

This weekend sees Charlton pitch up at Oakwell, with the visitors keen to complete a league double over the Reds.

But a victory for Barnsley would see them leapfrog the Addicks and whilst Winkler is all too aware of the dangers they could pose his side, he knows that if the Reds are at their best, they can enter 2019 in the best fashion.

“Charlton are a really strong side. We know this will be a really tough match, a tough fight for us on Saturday.

“We learn from the first match that they have good strength, lots of midfield runners and the number 9 (Lyle Taylor) is very important to them and we need to be at our best.

“The players can’t lose focus, they have to be at their very best if we want to continue this run and take momentum into the New Year.”

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