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Tonge: "The players are playing with freedom."

14 February 2019

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wycombe Wanderers, Dale Tonge says Barnsley are striving to progress as a group.

The Reds go into the game on the back of a 4-1 victory away to Gillingham last weekend, but the quest for perfection is what drives the team on as they aim for promotion from Sky Bet League One.

“It’s a very young group and we want to make any little improvements we can – especially with the gaffer’s mentality, which is by not conceding goals we should win games, because we will score goals,” said Tonge. “Irrespective of the score line at the time, keeping a clean sheet is the most important thing.

“It looks quite convincing on the score line and everyone who was watching knows we could have scored a lot more. Again, within that performance, we dissected it and know there’s still a lot more to come from this team.

“I think the players are playing with freedom – the gaffer allows them to play; it’s kind of a no fear football. They go out and express themselves and I think we’ve got a good group that has bought into that, especially here at Oakwell.”

Since losing to the Chairboys at the start of December, Barnsley have embarked on an 11-game unbeaten run that has propelled them into the automatic promotion spots.

The Reds are also yet to taste defeat on home soil this season and, while it would be a magnificent achievement to keep that form until the end of the campaign, Tonge insists his side are looking no further ahead than the next fixture each week.

“We’re working one game at a time; all the cliché’s – the next game is the most important,” continued the Reds’ Assistant. “When we played Wycombe the last time, they did a bit of a job on us so we’ve focussed all our energy on how to beat them and that’s the most important game right now.

“The biggest thing is how they set up; their strategy on how to beat us. We’ve put things in place this week where we can beat that on Saturday. I think everyone agreed that it wasn’t a good performance on the day, but you’ve got to give credit to Wycombe because their game plan worked.

“Wycombe are a very good, organised team. I think they reflect their manager; very hardworking with endeavour and desire – all of the things that Gareth Ainsworth represents, and you can’t take your foot off the gas because we know they will give 100%, irrespective of what form they’re in.”

You can watch Dale’s full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.

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