Martin Devaney reserved special praise for his players as they beat Crewe Alexandra 1-0 on Monday afternoon.
The U23s coach was delighted as Barnsley recorded a third win in four Professional Development League outings at Reaseheath Training Ground.
“It’s only one defeat in the last eight league games, so I’m really pleased – more importantly for the players because they’ve been fantastic,” said Devaney. “The willingness to learn, throughout the squad, has been great and they’ve played some really good attacking football. Winning games brings confidence and I’m really enjoying working with this group of players.”
As well as picking up another impressive victory against one of the league’s form teams, the Reds also kept a fourth clean sheet in six games.
The youngsters have now kept Leeds United, Burnley, Hull City and Crewe at bay over the course of this run as they racked up their eighth win of the campaign.
“It just shows how much the team has improved,” insisted Devaney. “Earlier on in the season we were struggling and conceding goals and we’ve worked hard in the classroom and on the training ground to improve that.
“The team comes first before the individual and you can see that with the recent performances that we’re much more confident defensively. It gives us the licence to play expansively and the players can now express themselves in the final third. When it comes to the games now, I can just sit back and enjoy the football – that credit is to the players.”
Sam Fielding’s goal proved to be the difference against the Railwaymen as he volleyed home from inside the area after 19 minutes.
It’s the defender’s second goal in as many games, having scored the Reds’ first in the 3-3 draw with Hull City a fortnight ago, and Devaney is pleased with the impact Fielding is having on games.
“We’ve asked him to add some goals to his game,” admitted the U23s coach. “He’s got a great range of passing, but it’s important that a centre back affects both boxes. He scored at Hull last time out and the way he took his goal against Crewe was excellent.”
Another positive for Barnsley was Matty Wolfe coming through another hour of football unscathed as he continues to return to full fitness.
The young midfielder looked accomplished in possession against Crewe with neat touches and intricate skill on a difficult playing surface in Nantwich.
“It was tough for him today in terms of his physicality, but he got through 60 minutes so it’s more progress for him,” continued Devaney. “The pitch would have been a challenge, but he’s overcome that and it’s really pleasing for him and the club to see him back playing.”
Pacey winger Simoes completed 68 minutes, while Aramburu, who made his debut as a substitute at Hull, was withdrawn five minutes from time against the Railwaymen.
“I thought they did really well,” said Devaney. “Elliot linked the play really well – he was effective in the first half and he’s got good ability, and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“Mateo did well to play up front by himself, he held the ball up well and got into good positions in the box. It’s a learning curve for them both to get used to how we play, but I thought they did well.”