Aapo Halme grabbed his third goal of the season on Boxing Day, this being his most crucial strike and he spoke to us following a more-than deserved point against West Brom.
Confidently stroking home the equaliser from close-range, Aapo Halme capped off a Merry Christmas for Gerhard Struber's upwardly mobile Reds as they left Oakwell for the final time in 2019 with a point that was the least their display had warranted.
Former Leeds United man Halme admitted as much, describing the point as 'important' after such an impressive performance against the side who top the Sky Bet Championship table going into the New Year.
“It felt great,” said the big Finn. “It was my third goal so I’m getting used to it! We could have won the game, we had all the chances and were the better team, so to at least get the equaliser was important.
“We played well, and West Brom are top of the table so I think we’re ready to go and compete at Swansea at the weekend. I think things are looking better and I feel like the dressing room is happier now.
“We have to keep going and continue to believe in ourselves. We have the feeling we can win games. It’s growing more and more into our game. The Millwall game was good for us, it gave us the confidence that we can win away from Oakwell also.”
The Reds have lost just once so far in this hectic December - a cruel injury-time defeat at Cardiff City - as they have clawed their way right back into contention in the battle to stay afloat in the second tier.
Halme believes confidence is imperative, but that the start to the season with so many new faces was always likely to be tough.
The Finland U21 international has operated in a holding midfield role under Struber, at the base of the Austrian's preferred diamond system. It's a position that was new to Aapo but one that he's getting to grips with.
He explained, telling us: “I think as you get confidence, and get to know the lads more and know the system, you start to play better. There’s always a settling in period and we had many new players, so this takes time.
“It’s different playing in midfield, I had never played there before. But if me being there helps the team I will play there.
“You get pressed more from everywhere, there’s less time to think so you have to be more focussed with the ball.”
Struber's arrival has heralded a much more positive mood around the club and Halme reckons he deserves praise for his impact.
Playing in one of the strongest leagues in Europe and with Finland qualifying for next summer's European Championships, Aapo was asked if he had his sights set on a place in the full squad for the competition.
“Of course with the improved results, the coach will get the credit and that is fair enough. He has made us more solid, we know what we are expected to do.
“In terms of Finland, it is a dream to one day play for the full team but they have a lot of good players to choose from. My focus is on here, on Barnsley and moving up that table. If my form sees me in with a chance of going to the Euro’s then that would be a real bonus for me.”