The Reds lost 2-0 in their second Championship game on Saturday then went down 3-0 at home to League Two Carlisle United in the EFL Cup first round on Tuesday.
Assistant coach Dale Tonge told the Chronicle: “I think a lot of people were a bit too negative after the game on Tuesday. We know the performance wasn’t good enough but it’s a new group, it’s the third game of the season, and there are still a lot of positives to be had.
“All we can ask from the fans on Saturday is to be really positive and get behind the team. It’s a new team but it’s our team and it’s the team we will look forward to seeing all season.”
Tonge added: “We won’t overreact, it’s been a couple of defeats in a few days. There have been no big dramas or issues. The good thing about this group of players is they are honest. If anything they can be too negative but we are trying to get across that there are a lot of positives to take from our season so far. We will be really positive going into the next game. We have had a couple of meetings with the leaders within the group. People are stepping forward and it is good to see.”
Head coach Daniel Stendel admitted Tuesday was the most disappointed he had felt in his time at Oakwell. He told the Chronicle: “The feeling that we did not show much emotion on the pitch is the worst thing. Mistakes that lead to goals can happen, but the feeling that all 11 players on the pitch were fighting against defeat was missing.
“The last two games might have affected the players’ confidence but it is my job and our job as coaches to get this confidence back and we have a good chance to win against Charlton.”
Tonge added: “We expected a reaction from Saturday and we didn’t get it. It was an opportunity to players to stake a claim for the league games but none of them did that apart from Brad Collins. There was no intensity or the idea that people wanted to show they should be playing.
"The mentality was the biggest disappointment. The only positive is that some players got minutes in. They let the fans down and themselves down. “We expect a reaction on Saturday and I think we will get it.”
The Reds are currently unbeaten in 28 league games at Oakwell across 17 months. A draw or victory tomorrow would mean that the current sequence is the second-best in the club’s history and the best since 1935.
They host the two sides who gained promotion from League One alongside them last season on the next two Saturdays with tomorrow’s game against Charlton followed a week later by a home match with Luton Town. Charlton finished just one place and three points behind the Reds last season in third place in League One, then beat Doncaster Rovers on penalties to reach the play-off final in which they scored an injury-time winner over Sunderland.
Lee Bowyer’s side won their first game after promotion 2-1 at Blackburn Rovers then won 3-1 at home to Stoke City on Saturday. They are the only side, other than Sheffield Wednesday, to have won their first two games in the Championship this season. They then lost on penalties at home to League Two Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Cup on Tuesday after a 0-0 draw, having made 11 changes.
Tonge said: “Charlton have had a great start and will be full of confidence. Certain people might expect certain things out of the game but it will be a really, really difficult test. We don’t see Charlton and Luton as newly-promoted teams, we see them as quality Championship opposition.
"Charlton had a very similar summer to ours in terms of losing a lot of players but they have kept the momentum. Lyle Taylor is a massive threat and a fantastic player. His goals to games ratio in the last year and a half has been up there with the best. They have dangerous players around him like Jonny Williams and Conor Gallagher.”
This is due to be the 51st meeting between the two clubs, with Athletic winning only two of the last 11 clashes since 1999 and losing five. Barnsley won 2-1 at home to the Addicks last season, with goals in the first 14 minutes from Brad Potts and Mamadou Thiam – following a 2-0 loss in London earlier in the season.