Martin Devaney says Barnsley U23s defeat at Burnley on Monday afternoon can be used as a learning curve moving forward.
The young Reds were narrowly beaten 2-1 at the Tameside Stadium, despite taking an early lead against the Clarets.
However, two second half goals from the hosts ensured Barnsley left empty handed from what was a battling display.
“It was tough – they’ve probably got an older and more experienced side than we have, so it was a test for our young team,” insisted Devaney. “We couldn’t quite hurt them and get into that final third as much as I would have liked, but it’s a lesson learnt and they know, moving forward, that it’s the type of player they’re going to come up against.
“I think we rode our luck at times but, having said that, our defenders – particularly Rudi Pache and Jordan Helliwell – are still really young and playing against players who are three or four years older than them, so it’s a really good experience for them.”
Chances were few and far between at both ends, but it was Burnley – the league’s only unbeaten side – who proved to be more clinical with their opportunities.
Chris Sang and Tommy Willard both saw their shots blocked late on, while Keziah Martin was also denied by a sprawling defender in the first half.
“They like to play a 4-2-4 and are quite direct with pace down the flanks and I thought, in the first half, we dealt with it particularly well,” continued Devaney. “We picked up the second ball quite well and played some nice stuff through central areas.
“It was good to go 1-0 up, but I still felt that Burnley were a threat. For their first goal, we didn’t clear our lines properly but, from what I’ve seen, their player was offside, so that’s disappointing.
“In the second half though, they just turned it up a notch and I think we struggled physically in terms of strength, but I felt that we could have done better in possession and with our decision making.”
Up next for the young Reds is a South Yorkshire derby away at Sheffield Wednesday on Monday afternoon.
Barnsley won this fixture 2-1 last season thanks to two stunning strikes from Victor Adeboyejo and Louis Wardle, which won our Goal of the Month Award for November 2018, and Devaney is hopeful that his side can put in a positive display.
“As long as we perform well, that’s the main thing,” asserted the U23s coach. “There’s things in there that need to get better and areas where we can still improve, but we need to start taking care in the final third and be a bit more creative.”