Reds Head Coach Gerhard Struber labels Barnsley as a ‘fighting team’ following their 2-1 win in the Yorkshire derby over Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
A captain’s contribution from Alex Mowatt in the 14th minute was added to by Conor Chaplin in the second half to ensure the Reds returned to winning ways in style following defeat to Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship last time out.
Speaking after the game at Oakwell, Struber said: “I’m a happy coach. I’m very proud of my team. I think we played very well against a big opponent. Huddersfield are a big name with a big budget and my team, especially in the first half, created a very good game.
“We made the next step in my style on the ball. We had top positioning and control which is the next step to stay in this league. I’m very happy with the performances and the mentality to win games.
“However, we need to learn from the second half because we lost a bit of control and the opponent had chances with long balls which are very hard to defend.
“In the end, I am very happy with the performance and the mentality to win which is the biggest change that we have made in the last two months. I see a completely different mentality when I speak with the boys and when I look in their eyes.
“When Huddersfield scored, we kept cool and had our mind always on the task, not thinking about a big fantasy. There was a lot of teamwork.”
Barnsley started the day 23rd in the table, with Huddersfield above them in 20th. However, victory for the Reds saw them move to within four points of the Terriers, and just one point from safety after they climbed a place to 22nd.
Struber believes with the right mindset, the Reds have what it takes to avoid relegation back to Sky Bet League One.
He added: “It is the reality that, when we win, other clubs drop down. But my focus is only on my team and that we always climb higher every week. In the end, I have a big conviction that we will stay in the league if we continue to have this mentality, this style and this character.”
The win at Oakwell, also saw the Reds go five consecutive games without defeat on home soil, something Struber says is key to success in the league.
Hailing the ‘amazing’ support from the fans, which has contributed to this recent upturn in form, Struber went on to say: “It’s a good feeling.
“We have a big support from our fans, and I am happy that we can show this performance to them and get three points which is so important.
“Our fans can go home and say, ‘Barnsley is a fighting team with hard-workers’. We try and do this every game, and this is key to our style and our mentality.”
The Austrian also had high praise for new signing Marcel Ritzmaier after the Head Coach handed him a debut at the weekend.
The experienced 26-year-old central midfielder joined the Reds last week on a two-an-a-half year deal from Struber’s former side Wolfsberger AC, on a contract which will see him stay at Oakwell until 2022.
Ritzmaier, who can operate across all positions in the midfield diamond, was instrumental in the Huddersfield victory and Struber said: "He had a good game in an absolutely new team.
“He was very good in the forward defending situations. With his experience and his quality, he is a big help for us.”