Gerhard Struber is confident that there were enough positives to take from the weekend’s game at Blackburn Rovers to suggest that Barnsley can claim a much-needed victory against Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening.
The Reds twice fought back to level the scores at Ewood Park, but eventually succumbed to Bradley Dack’s late strike despite enjoying the better chances and more possession.
Lapses in concentration ultimately proved to be costly in Struber’s first game, but he believes that his new squad has the character required to bounce back at the Riverside against their fellow Sky Bet Championship strugglers.
“I think we had a good performance, especially in the second half where we created good chances,” said the Austrian. “We must learn and, after the game, I said it is important for us to have focus for the whole game in every minute – from set pieces, on the ball and off the ball. Tomorrow, we have a clear match plan.
“They have the same situation as us; Middlesbrough need points and so do we.”
Saturday saw Barnsley revert to a back four but Struber implemented his preferred diamond formation, from which the Reds’ attacking contingency reaped the rewards as they broke forward at will.
Cauley Woodrow played in an unfamiliar number ten role and still managed to notch his seventh goal of the campaign, and it is a tactic that our Head Coach believes can get the best out of every player.
“With this system, we have many options when we have the ball and we have an overload situation that we can create in this system,” continued Struber.
“I think Cauley can play in lots of positions – as a striker or a number ten in the diamond – and he did a good job in this game. He is a leader and a player who can score, so it’s important for us that we have him on the pitch and he’s helpful for the younger players and the team.”
With Middlesbrough sat just outside the relegation zone on goal difference to Luton Town and Stoke City, Wednesday evening is a real opportunity for Barnsley to close the gap and put pressure on teams around them.
Not only would it help to boost morale off the pitch, but it could prove to be decisive psychologically heading into a traditional, hectic festive schedule and Struber is convinced that results will come if performances continue to be constructive.
“Every game is important; if we win, we get three points,” insisted the Reds’ Head Coach. “Right now, we are relaxed but we know that the next games are very important to get better control on the ball and off the ball.
“We can increase the performance but the result isn’t always in our hands, but we hope that with a good step in the performance and focus for 90 minutes – in all situations – that the results can get better and we can win.”