Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, conceded the performances of Barnsley defenders Marc Roberts and Alfie Mawson had proved decisive as his team were held to a goalless draw by their South Yorkshire rivals.
He acknowledged his team lacked “a little bit of quality” in the final third and commended the visiting centre-halves on their ability to nullify the threat posed by strikers Che Adams and Billy Sharp.
“Billy and Che have been on fire of late but I thought their two centre-halves did well against them,” Adkins said. “We had one or two opportunities but, maybe, it just didn’t quite happen.
“There was the cross from Martyn Woolford after he came on and then the one for Conor (Sammon). That was a super tackle from Roberts.”
Substitutes Sammon and Woolford both made immediate impacts after being introduced, with the latter inches away from finding Sharp with a superb cross during the closing stages, while Sammon, on loan from Derby County, appeared to have escaped Roberts’ clutches only to be tackled cleanly as he primed to shoot.
Barnsley saw a goal disallowed for a foul on Ryan Flynn before the interval but Adkins said: “The referee had blown up well early so, I had no doubts. There was no issue there.
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t get the victory we needed.”
He named the same starting 11 for the fifth match in succession and, speaking afterwards, insisted it was no coincidence that United’s displays have significantly improved during that period.
“Having a settled team helps,” he said. “We had that in a spell when we lost two games in a couple of months but we drew too many then.”