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Interviews

POYA ASBAGHI POST-MIDDLESBROUGH

27 February 2022

Following our 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon, Poya Asbaghi says it was exactly the kind of performance he was hoping for to build on the crucial win at Hull in midweek.

Mads Andersen’s early header was added to by a brace from the scintillating Amine Bassi as we established a commanding three-goal lead 10 minutes into the second half.

“We really wanted to come out in front of our home fans and use the momentum we had from a good performance against Hull, to be aggressive, to not invite Middlesbrough in anyway, and I think we accomplished just that,” asserted Asbaghi.

“It didn’t take long before we created our first chance – Morris had a good finish – and then we scored the 1-0 goal. After that, we went 2-0 up in a first half that I feel is a really, really good performance with good defending, and we were aggressive and creating a lot of chances.

“We came in at half-time and talked about not getting too comfortable; we know that Middlesbrough is a good team, but we cannot go out and defend – we have to be aggressive and try to score the third goal.

“Exactly, that happened which, in the end, turned out to be pretty decisive because what happens after 3-0 is that Middlesbrough are the better team.”

Andraž Šporar converted a penalty just after the hour mark to set up a tense finale at Oakwell before Liam Kitching turned into his own net under pressure from Dael Fry deep into injury time.

Even though the Reds did enough to seal three priceless points against play-off chasing Boro, Asbaghi is looking for his team to finish games strongly moving forward.

“They played with a lot of desperation, took a lot of risks, and it doesn’t surprise me that a team with the quality that they have, when they take the risks that they do, they will create chances,” continued our Head Coach.

“Maybe what we need to improve is that we have to be better at punishing teams when they take as many risks as they did and punish them with our counter-attacks. We didn’t do that for me to feel really happy with the last 30 minutes.

“But overall, during 90 minutes, it’s a really good performance – first half is brilliant, and it’s an impressive performance from the lads to earn us three points.”

Our next assignment takes us to Pride Park, where fellow strugglers Derby County await in what is one of those proverbial ‘relegation six-pointers’. That old cliché.

Despite potentially gaining a slight psychological advantage heading into the encounter by leapfrogging the Rams this weekend, Asbaghi insists that he and his side don’t focus on the current standings.

“I think it’s more the way that we are playing now that is going to help us,” he stated. “We haven’t been looking too much at the table – we know the tables can turn from one week to another and we cannot go up and down in the emotional elevator.

“We have to be more stable, believe in ourselves and analyse our performances to look at what we can improve. So, I think it’s more the performance that we can use and try to make the same performance against Derby.”

You can watch Poya’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.


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