Neill Collins applauds Barnsley’s first-half display in win over Bristol Rovers

By Sports Desk January 13, 2024

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins praised his side’s first-half performance after they beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 at Oakwell

Devante Cole and Corey O’Keefe scored either side of Chris Martin’s equaliser to wrap up the three points.

Collins said: “It was a tough game. It was a game that I knew was going to be very tough.

“The fine balance is always emphasising to the team how tough it’s going to be without getting them scared and making sure we know it’s about us.

“I just felt this was a big one because Bristol (Rovers) will still have an eye on the play-offs. They’re good enough to do that and they’ve been on a good run of form.

“The players trained fantastically. I thought in the first half they were really excellent in most parts of the game apart from the final pass or final cross.

“Once we did get that right, we scored and probably should’ve done it a little bit more often and taken advantage of the first-half performance.”

On his side’s reaction to losing their lead, Collins said: “There’s always an opponent to consider, they brought on two big target strikers. We don’t have that dominant presence, although the lads at the back stood up to it really well.

“We’re going to have a lot more games like that between now and the end of the season. The good thing for me is there’s a lot of room for us still to improve, but a lot to be pleased with.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor pointed out the weaknesses that led to his side’s downfall.

He said: “We had a lot of chances; I didn’t think we were good enough first half.

“I think we lacked a little bit of our strength, intensity and brightness when the ball was in and around us.

“The second-half performance was much improved in terms of our understanding of what the game needed first and foremost.

“We haven’t kept a clean sheet since I’ve been here, that’s a pretty damning statement of myself and this group of players because we do create chances, we always look like we’ve got a threat about us.

“We’ve got to find a way of staying more controlled in games.”

On how his team conceded the first goal, Taylor said: “Every goal you concede you’ll go into real detail, but the really clear theme is that we’ve conceded too many goals that we feel are soft goals.

“At the moment, there’s a bit of softness and that’s not always a physical statement, it’s our mindset towards it, our understanding of what’s needed at certain times.

“It’s frustrating because throughout the course of the game we’ve created the cleaner chances, but it’s irrelevant.”

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