MICHAEL DUFF REACTS TO BLADES VICTORY – News
Following our 2-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon, Michael Duff insisted there were signs of progress since coming through the door at Oakwell in the summer.
The Reds have applied themselves well during pre-season, putting in several strong performances – particularly against top league opponents Nottingham Forest and, more recently, the Blades.
“Obviously the result is nice, but it wasn’t even the result – I thought we were like what we did last week; we were organized and compact against a very good team,” began Duff.
“There was only one lack of concentration at the end of the first half which cost us the goal, and we took advantage of our luck a bit at the start of the second half, but we We’re really happy with the attitude and application of the players – the things we’ve been working on have come out.
“We’re a long way from the finished article, but there are signs of progress.”
Strikes from Jack Aitchison and Josh Benson were enough to complete a second-half turnover for Barnsley, who followed up Robbie Cundy’s unfortunate own goal just before the break.
Duff praised his team’s character for continuing to work hard throughout the contest and ultimately getting a positive result from what was a pleasant display.
“I think the player application has been brilliant – that’s all I can ask for; for their enthusiasm, their receptivity to different information, and they all agreed,” He continued.
“You can see the structure of the team looks okay – it can still improve, obviously. Scoring two goals was nice; we probably bought some luck but we won it with the mistake and then he there was a bit of shine.
“But staying in the game long enough to allow that moment of brilliance to win the game was the most enjoyable thing because that’s the structure we’re trying to build on.”
The winning goal was a moment of magic from Benson, who fired a magnificent free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards out.
Our midfield had moved closer in the first half, forcing Wes Foderingham into a quick save and, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
“They do it all the time” admitted Duff. “Josh actually had a bit of a stick last week because he couldn’t get close to the target, but he did on game day.
“It’s just an individual thing; it’s not something I’m particularly concerned about – I’m more concerned with how the team looks as a unit and that’s what I was happy with.
With the pre-season now over, attention turns to our Sky Bet League One campaign with a trip to Plymouth Argyle, the first campaign mission.
A perfectionist, Duff says he wishes he had more time to prepare, but is looking forward to starting at Home Park.
“You never feel ready” discussed the Reds head coach. “You could give me another six weeks and I wouldn’t feel ready because there are a lot of details you want to go into.
“But I just told them there, don’t get carried away with yourselves because you had some good performances in pre-season – the real work starts next week. So I wouldn’t say confident is the word.
“I can’t wait to be there, but the real work starts now. We want to show all the good traits that we have already shown and give ourselves a chance.