Daniel Stendel praised his sides efforts as they came from a goal down to beat Bradford City and secure their place in the knockout phase of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The Bantams led through David Ball’s early strike, but two goals from George Moncur either side of the break ensured the Reds topped Northern Group F.
“It was a very good performance from my team and I’m very proud of my players,” said Stendel. “We’ve not played this formation before and a lot of young players played very well, too. After we went 1-0 down, we changed the result and we deserved to win the game.
“Our main priority is the league but the final of this competition is at Wembley Stadium, which is a goal for every player. We try our best in all competitions and we’ll see how far we go, and hopefully we’ll play at Wembley.”
Barnsley changed the entire starting line-up from the team that brushed Notts County aside at the weekend, with no less than six academy players amongst the substitutes.
Will Smith and Jordan Helliwell both came off the bench to make their debuts after the interval following Adam Jackson’s dismissal as the Reds held onto claim all three points.
It was a proud moment for the youngsters, who had to adapt quickly to the demands of senior football as Bradford pushed for an equaliser late on.
“When we were down to ten men, we had to make the change and bring Will on,” continued the Reds’ Head Coach. “Jordan has been in the squad for all three Checkatrade Trophy games and he sometimes trains with the first team; he’s a real talent in the academy and he deserved to come on.”
After three consecutive cup fixtures, attention now turns to league matters in what could potentially be an important ten days.
There is an opportunity for Barnsley to steal a march on their promotion rivals with games against Accrington Stanley, Doncaster Rovers and Sunderland set to come thick and fast.
“I enjoy all the games and I think we’re a very good team that can win all three games,” insisted Stendel. “I think we’re more confident in the last games and we have a lot of options for the starting eleven now.”
You can watch Daniel's full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.