Barnsley: No easy task selling high energy approach to Reds squad

Andreas Winkler
Andreas Winkler

Barnsley's high-energy approach under new boss Daniel Stendel is paying off, but his assistant Andreas Winkler admits it was a hard sell to the players.

The German pair arrived at Oakwell in the summer and revolutionised the way the Reds play, with pressing and counter-pressing their preferred method.

The results have spoken for themselves as they have lost just one of their opening 11 League One games and laid down a real marker last week when they thrashed second-placed Peterborough 4-0 on their own patch.

Their style, while proving effective, is physically demanding and Winkler, whose side host Luton in the televised lunchtime kick-off, accepts it takes some getting used to.

He also believes the win at London Road was perhaps a light-bulb moment after a disappointing performance against Plymouth in their previous match.

“That is the natural way, normal,” he said. “Counter-pressing, high-pressing, it is all about high energy and running.

“Sprinting and reacting after disappointment. It is not easy at every period of the match, every player had to do it at the same time.

“ If things are not going well in a match, it is not easy to fight back with this style of football.

“It takes a couple of weeks to convince the players.

“I think Peterborough was a very important match for us because the matches before we couldn’t see our style.

“The players were maybe thinking about whether it was the right way to go. But the match against Peterborough, the players know they can beat a very good team, away, if we stick to our plan. It is clear.

“It was very important to get confidence back, show them this is the plan and can be successful.”
The Reds will be forced into changes against Luton as Adam Davies and Kenny Dougall are away on international duty.

Kieffer Moore is also a big doubt with an ankle ligament injury, but Winkler insists their absence will not be a problem.

“We will find a good line-up for Saturday,” the number two said. “We will miss them (Dougall and Davies), but they will come back with more self-confidence and more experience.

“They will be more composed on the ball so it could be also good for our performance.

“It is always a good option to play long-range balls to Kieffer, for flick-ons.

“But that is not really 100 per cent our style. We won’t change our style. We will stick to our plan.”