Martin Devaney was thrilled following our U23s convincing victory over Birmingham City in the Professional Development League on Friday afternoon.
The young Reds ran out 5-2 winners at the Oakwell Training Ground thanks to two goals each from Elliot Simoes and Clarke Oduor, while Mamadou Thiam was also on target.
That result sees Barnsley climb above the Blues and into sixth place, with four wins and four defeats from their opening eight fixtures of the season.
“I’m delighted with the win,” exclaimed Devaney. “It was a really good performance – all the players showed good character and mentality, and they executed the game plan really well.”
The Reds came into the game on the back of two heavy losses against Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest, respectively, but any hangover from those outings seemed to be a distant memory.
There was fluidity to the play and Barnsley dictated the tempo from start to finish, perhaps aided by a quintet of first team players in the shape of Thiam, Oduor, Kenny Dougall, Callum Styles and Jordan Green.
“I spoke to the players, just to make sure that their attitudes were right because it was an opportunity to do well and lead by example because it’s a good, tight group,” continued Devaney.
“They’re very honest, which I love, so I’m really pleased with everyone’s attitude and it showed because we played some very good football. We spoke about Birmingham playing the diamond and we matched that up, but I think we executed it a bit better in the transition.”
It is proving to be a productive campaign for Simoes, who has now netted eight goals for our U23s so far and is one of the leading scorers in the league.
Devaney heaped praise on the youngster, who has made a positive impression since arriving at Oakwell from FC United of Manchester back in January.
“Elliot is a hard worker – he’s knuckled down and bought into the culture of the academy and wants to learn,”continued the U23s coach.
“We’re seeing massive improvements and he’s still got a lot to do, but out on the training ground he’s always asking questions – even at half-time he was asking me questions as to how he can affect the opposition in certain areas.
“His finishing for both goals was fantastic and we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
You can watch all the goals for FREE on iFollow Barnsley.