Following his arrival at Oakwell on Thursday evening, Poya Asbaghi sat down for his first official interview with iFollow Barnsley.
Our new Head Coach is keen to get started and is eagerly anticipating his first match in the dugout when we welcome Swansea City to South Yorkshire in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday.
“I’m really delighted,” began Asbaghi. “It’s been a couple of intense days, but now I’m here and I’m really looking forward to start working.
“Looking out into the stadium, it looks like a really classic stadium and I’m looking forward to having home games with our crowd there – it’s the first that caught my eye coming in.
“Then I had the chance to meet a lot of people working around the club – really nice people – and I’m looking forward to meeting the players and staff as well.”
The Iranian-born coach will have a watching brief this weekend as we travel to Fulham, before taking charge of first team affairs on Monday.
He has already acquainted himself with Jo Laumann and is confident that our interim head coach and the squad will perform admirably at Craven Cottage.
“We’ve talked to Jo through Zoom and shared ideas, but we feel really comfortable in Jo having that game,” continued Asbaghi. “He’s already won a game, so we will not interfere too much before the game; we know Jo can handle it.
“After the game, we will summarise it together with Jo and after that we’ll work together.”
He began his coaching career in Sweden at Dalkurd FF before guiding Gefle IF to safety in the Superettan. Eventually, his talents were spotted by two-time UEFA Cup winners IFK Göteborg, whom he guided to Svenska Cupen success in 2020.
The 36-year-old has a wealth of experience under his belt already – ranging from promotion to relegation battles – and is hoping to transfer that knowledge to the Championship.
“Göteborg is a historical club in Sweden; if you look back 20 years ago, they were the dominant team in Sweden and also successful in Europe,” he discussed. “You remember Sven-Göran Eriksson, he started here as well at IFK Göteborg.
“The last 20 years have not been as successful, but they’re still a big club. We got to work with young players that needed to develop and had the chance to win a trophy, which was a huge experience – the best memory during our time.
“It also feels good to be able to come to Barnsley, who have a really good history as well.”
Since departing IFK, Asbaghi had a yearlong stint at the Swedish national set-up as U21s coach, leaving with Sweden top of their UEFA European U21 qualifying group after seven games.
His history of developing young players could prove to be beneficial and he is looking forward to implementing his style and philosophy on our burgeoning squad.
“The experience is massive, I’d say,” insisted Asbaghi. “Coaching a national team is pretty different to coaching a club team in everyday work, but I’d say working with young, talented players at Sweden U21s – the most promising players we have – gives you a lot of good experience when working with good young players.
“I knew before coming to Barnsley that there are some good young players here as well. So, hopefully, my experience with the national team can help me in the way I work with the players here in Barnsley because there are a lot of similarities.”