Gerhard Struber cut a frustrating figure after the final whistle yesterday when summing up his team's performance in defeat against the Royals.
The Reds' Head Coach believes fatigue played a key role during Barnsley’s 2-0 loss at Reading as their three-game winning sequence came to an abrupt end in Berkshire.
After an exhausting February schedule consisting of seven league games, the boss suggested that the fixtures perhaps caught up with his young side.
“It was a difficult game." Struber stated.
"There were one or two unlucky situations for us. We had a few top chances but we didn’t take them.
"But in general over the whole game, we didn’t have the energy to win it. That was the key in the end. The last games took out a lot of energy from my boys and it is not easy to always play at our limit, to play my style. It's something I need to look at in the next days."
Now five points from safety with ten games to play, Gerhard said: “It is so close. The league is very difficult. We have to work, we give everything we can and we have a big chance to stay in the league.
"We always believe in what we do and we have seen many positive things in the last months. It wasn't enough today but we have a big week of preparation now ready for the next chance for three points against Cardiff.”
Struber said his decision to change formation (the Reds played a back three again) was not a factor in the defeat, despite reverting to his preferred diamond system after the interval.
“It was not about the formation today," he explained. "It was more about our energy. In the first half, Reading had too much space, they beat the press and we always had to run. In the second half, we played without intensity or speed in our game, we were quite flat.”
Next up at Oakwell on Saturday, Barnsley welcome Cardiff City in what will be the first of three home games in March.
The boss is looking forward to getting back on home soil after three away trips in the last four matches and hopes the Reds supporters will continue to back his side in their efforts to escape the bottom three.
"I think in Barnsley with our fans behind us we can beat anyone in the league. Cardiff will be a different task for us, they play a lot of long balls and so we want more composure on the ball.
"This week we will work hard in the training to best prepare for our opponents."