Paul Heckingbottom admitted that his Barnsley side struggled to truly get going as they fell to a second straight Championship defeat, this time at Brighton.
The Reds struggled throughout most of the game with last season’s play-off semi-finalists triumphing thanks to a Glenn Murray deadly double.
The Reds slipped just out of the top six, ahead of another tough fixture at home to Aston Villa tomorrow.
Heckingbottom said: “We were disappointed because we started the game poorly and it took us a long time to get going.
“When you don’t get going against a good side like Brighton, you don’t really give yoursleves a chance.
“We weren’t as good with the ball as we usually are and we didn’t keep it for long enough spells.
“We didn’t pass it quick enough, while out of possession, we just didn’t seem to have the same energy or intensity to our game.
“Brighton deserved to win, but we didn’t play well at all.”
Murray opened the scoring after 12 minutes, slotting home his fourth goal of the season easily after being teed up by Baram Kayal.
He doubled his and the Seagulls’ tally shortly after half-time when glancing home a header from Jiri Skalak’s free-kick.
massive week to come
Heckingbottom says that his team are in the middle of a ‘massive’ week for the club.
Barnsley travelled south and were beaten at Brighton on Saturday, before tomorrow there’s an Oakwell clash against Aston Villa to look forward to, and after that a trip to Yorkshire rivals Leeds United at the weekend.
Nobody ever said the Sky Bet Championship was going to be easy following promotion last Spring, and that appears to be being borne out this week.
Heckingbottom said: “We know it’s going to be a massive week for us.
“We’ve had Brighton away, Villa on Tuesday, then Leeds away on Saturday.
“These are all huge games.
“We’ve got a good squad, though, so we’ll always get a good 11 out onto the pitch.
“It’s up to us the get them playing the way we want them to play now, and to get them enjoying themselves.
“The players need to play with that freedom and fire in their bellies.”
test of character
Defeats against Reading and Brighton are nothing to be ashamed of, but now the Reds need to pluck up some much-needed character for the visit of Villa.
Villa had an awful season in the Premier League last term and dropped into the Championship like a stone, but they have shown they will be a force to be reckoned with this term and turned in an impressive performance against Newcastle over the weekend.
And Heckingbottom needs his undoubtedly talented Reds side to show a bit of ‘bouncebackability’ if they are to try and maintain their early-season charge towards those coveted play-off places.
It’s scarcely been a blip for Heckingbottom’s men, but they will need to show a good, strong response tomorrow if they are to upset Roberto di Matteo’s Villa.