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7 August 2022



7 August 2022

Michael Duff was pleased with his side's performance after securing the first win of the 22/23 campaign at Oakwell against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

Luke Thomas' 66th minute strike was enough to separate the sides in Duff's first league game in charge of the Reds at Oakwell. 

Plying his trade as a centre half, the clean sheet aspect of the result was pleasing for our gaffer, but getting the three points nailed down was the most important thing: "Three things you want to get ticked off pretty quickly are your first goal, your first point, your first clean sheet and today we managed to do all three.

"Tough game - I thought we were the better of the two teams at half-time. We should have been winning the game, we opened up some pretty good opportunities. They're [Cheltenham] a tough team."

Going into the closing stages of the match, the Reds had a 1-0 lead to protect, a position that can bring doubts to fans and players alike.

However, Duff praised both the Barnsley crowd and players for their reaction and how they approached the final minutes of the match: "I was pleased with how the players dealt with it, but I was pleased with how the supporters dealt with it as well," he admitted.

"I was pleased at 0-0 that the supporters didn't start getting nervous - 'oh we're not winning, it's only Cheltenham' and sort of disrespect that level there; they didn't.

"I think they saw the players were trying. I felt that was a real positive. People make mistakes when they're tired, the anxiety kicks in, and it's easy for the crowd to get on top of them then and they didn't.

"It's just as hard for the supporters as it is for the players because they've not been used to winning either - and when they were winning loads, there was no one here! So, it's going to take time. I've said it two or three times, there needs to be a trust built between my staff and the players, and then the players and the supporters.

"Hopefully they can trust we're doing everything we can - we're not always going to win, and you're not going to always play well. But, in days like this can you grind out the really, really tight ones and hopefully that's a good start.

"I thought they turned out in their numbers, I was really pleased with it today."

A big week follows for the Reds, playing Middlesbrough in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening at the Riverside, before taking on Derby County in the league at Pride Park on Saturday.

The 44-year-old's message to his players is a simple one ahead of a challenging seven days for his squad: "Win the next half," asserted Duff.

"It doesn't matter who's playing, just try and win the next half. The team might not be the same, but there are opportunities for everyone - everyone will be needed. Don't pick and choose which games you think you should be playing and shouldn't be playing in.

"It's a game of football, just go and play football."

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