Barnsley learned from first-day defeat, says boss Paul Heckingbottom

Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom. Photo: Glenn Ashley.
Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom. Photo: Glenn Ashley.
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Head coach Paul Heckingbottom insists Barnsley learned a lot from their opening day defeat.

The Reds went down 4-2 at Ipswich Town and Heckingbottom believes the naïve nature in which they conceded was a rude awakening of the standards you need to set yourself in the Championship.

“I look back to the first game at Ipswich and I felt we played really well on the day,” reflected Heckingbottom, pictured. “But we were a little naive and conceded poor goals through doing things we’d not done when getting promoted.

“So it served as a reminder. The message then was clear, we weren’t going to be this pretty team that loses games.

“And I had to get that over to the players and then a week later against Derby at home, it was the exact opposite.

“We showed quality, we were clinical going forward and our discipline defensively was first class.”

The Reds were in with a late shot at the play-offs before their season dramatically fell away.

Just two wins since the end of January meant Heckingbottom’s side ended their first campaign back in the second tier with a respectable mid-table finish.

The club memorably lost Sam Winnall, Conor Hourihane and James Bree in the January transfer window.

However, Heckingbottom believes the club’s mentality changed once they knew they were mathematically safe and the slump in form.

He added: “Once you know you’re safe, things change a little. Look at Burton recently when they came up here. They were fighting for their lives. Bodies everywhere, scrapping for everything.

“We were fighting. The effort was always there. But not fighting for our lives, if that makes sense. “The year before, we had something on every game, and I think not having that played its part towards the end of the season.”

* Reds’ striker Tom Bradshaw is in Wales’ squad for a training camp in Portugal ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Serbia.