Paul Heckingbottom said his Barnsley side needed to believe in themselves more after losing 3-0 to Aston Villa.
Albert Adomah gave Villa a 19th minute lead and then doubled that from the penalty spot after Keinan Davis brought down Adam Jackson.
Davis got on the scoresheet himself 10 minutes into the second half and while Heckingbottom said his team kept battling, he felt they were undone by their lack of potency in attack.
"I thought Villa defended really well. They were very well organised," said Heckingbottom. "You could see they'd done a lot of work, but we competed right to the end.
"There were lots of good things, but we weren't a goal threat. There was a bit of belief missing.
"At half-time we knew a third goal would be everything in a game and they got it and they got goals from the things I always bang on about, the duels and the headers.
"Villa put the game to bed and had an easy half hour after that.
"We have to work very hard to win in this league and you hope that things are going to happen."