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Interviews

POYA ASBAGHI ON A VARIETY OF TOPICS

22 November 2021

Attending his first press conference late this afternoon, our new head coach had lots to say to the assembled media at Oakwell.

WHY HE TOOK THE JOB 

"Always before I take on new adventures, new challenges, the first question I ask myself is whether the job would develop me as a coach. 

"When considering this role, there were a lot of aspects that I felt would do that, that would help me develop. 

"How they work as a club, how they think about the way to play football and the development of young players. But also, I think that I can hopefully help develop the team as well."

THE TASK IN FRONT OF HIM

"Of course, it's no secret that this is a challenging situation. I think we've lost nine of the last ten games. One win in the last 16. I don't think confidence is at its highest in the players right now. 

"But I hope that myself and the rest of the staff can bring good clarity about what we need to do on the training pitch, and then on game days. Where roles are more clear, hopefully the players will feel more confident in that. 

"With young players, whilst confidence can quickly diminish when things aren't going well for them, it's the same in that it can quickly go the other way. And I'm confident, and hopeful that we can do this.

"I'm a demanding person. I expect the players to know fully what is demanded of them, from the theory room and then apply it on the training pitch. If that happens, I'm a pretty nice person."

THE DEMANDS

"Because of the situation we are in right now, it's not enough for us to say that we can do the same as other clubs. We have to understand that, we have to do more. 

"Myself, Ferran and Jo know that we have lots of work to do, as do the players, in the middle of a tough season, to make our ideas work. 

"We have to work, maybe twice as much as other clubs. But what I see from the players, they're ready to do that work, which makes me really happy."

STYLE OF PLAY

"For me, it's about bringing about an identity that suits the players we have in our squad right now. That they're given roles that fit them, as players, so they can regain their confidence as I mentioned previously.

"And all of this starts on Wednesday, against Swansea.

"I want our team to be controlling the different phases of the game. In a good way. We want to be a team who wants to press. I think the players here have that mentality already, to press, it's just knowing when to do it, and with which organisation we can do it. 

"I'm really hopeful also, that in terms of our attacking, we can be really smarter. Knowing where we have advantages on the pitch, and no matter whether that means playing short or going more direct, we use our advantages in the right way. 

"I'm pretty sure that if we do these things, we can control the games in a good way."

THE AMBITION

"Considering the situation we are in, I think a lot of people would be happy if we were staying in the league at the end of the season. 

"But for me, I want to develop these players and develop a game model and an identity for our team. This doesn't go against staying in the league. For me, you don't have to choose one or the other. 

"I want to get a win in the next game, to see our players develop each game, but for them to be developing still in a year's time. That's our ambition. But this requires hard work."

ON SWANSEA CITY

"Swansea is a team that you can always define on high possession. They have the highest percentage of possession in the league. They also have players who do not have any problem keeping the ball for the team, they also have the mentality that they can solve pressing by dribbling one-on-one; they're pretty unafraid.

"For us, we must understand that when we meet a team like that, of course we want to be organised and to be able to press, but we also have to accept that they're going to make us suffer. Where in situations when we try to press them, they will solve it. 

"They can make us suffer, but we have to handle it, and I'm pretty hopeful that we can make them suffer as well."

IMPRESSIONS OF BARNSLEY

"I've had a good first impression. There are good people within the club, I've also had the chance to see some of our fans and that was good. I also met Barry Murphy after training today, and that was special for me because he's such a big legend of our club. 

"What I have learned in this short period I've been here so far, because I didn't know too much about the town before I arrived, but this feels like a town whose people have not got anything for free in their life. 

"Normally, they have to put in a lot of extra work to get the same outcome that other people do with less effort. For me, that's a pretty charming picture of a town that really lives for its football club. 

"And what we can learn from the people of Barnsley is that with our position in the league, we are going to need to put in that hard work, maybe twice as hard as others.

"We can have this mentality, of going against the odds. And together with our supporters, we can beat the odds again, because this is what Barnsley is always doing."


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