New Tykes coach admits he’s learning on the job

Dale Tonge may be being paid to coach Barnsley's first team, but admits he is the one learning.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 13:00 pm
Updated Friday, 15th February 2019, 13:02 pm
Barnsley's Oakwell Stadium - Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The former Reds defender has been promoted to Daniel Stendel's assistant head coach until the end of the season following Andreas Winkler's January defection to Huddersfield.

Tonge, still only 33, was part of the club's academy staff before getting the call and admits to having his eyes opened by the way the German Stendel works.

It is going well for Tonge so far, with the Reds winning every game since he has been involved and he is loving the experience.

“It’s great. It is a learning curve, but it is something I am relishing and enjoying,” he said.

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“Everyone is great with me, in terms of the staff, the players, the media, it is fantastic. 

“It’s the same-old. It is a family club. We have got traditions, pathways, and a way we like to do things. I think it works, it has for a long time, and hopefully it will continue to work.

“I am starting to learn the language, not very well, but we will get there. He (Stendel) tells me every day that I need to get better!

“The different culture, from the continent, it is great because as a young coach it is another style to learn in terms of how to manage not just the team, how to manage the environment and the players.

“It is a great learning curve for a young coach. Every day is a school day, as they say, it can only add to my experiences.”

The Reds will get the chance to boost their excellent home record when Wycombe visit Oakwell on Saturday.

It is 19 league games since they were last beaten in front of their home fans, going back to March last year.

“The players are playing with freedom,” Tonge added. “The gaffer allows them to play, there is a kind of no-fear football, go out and express yourselves.

“I think we have got a good group who have bought into that and they love playing here at Oakwell.

“We have been put on a pedestal by a lot of teams now. With the performances and results we have had here, everyone wants to get that victory here.

“But we are doing the exact opposite and hoping we can keep this run going.”