Gerhard Struber accepts that the task of keeping Barnsley in the Championship this season has become more difficult after defeats in his first two games this week. 

The Reds lost 3-2 at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday and 1-0 at Middlesbrough on Wednesday, leaving the last-placed side eight points adrift of safety and five behind second-bottom Stoke City. They are winless in 17 matches which is the second worst run in their history following a 26-game club record sequence in 1952/53.  They are due to face Hull City tomorrow, hoping that their winless run does not stretch into a fourth month. 

Struber told the Chronicle: “It is not easier now.  It is a very, very difficult challenge. But we have many, many games and I think that, when we get better and have more control, we will bring the results. We will work very hard and hope for a win in our next game.” 

Barnsley’s 37 goals conceded is the most in the Championship and just two fewer than they let in last season in League One when they had the EFL’s best defensive record and kept a club record 21 clean sheets.  Only League One strugglers Southend United have shipped more goals so far in the EFL this season.  Barnsley have made individual errors for goals throughout the season, with Dimitri Cavare at fault for Middlesbrough’s winner on Wednesday. 

Struber said: “We need to learn from the mistakes. A big talent learns fast but a normal talent needs a long time. We need to learn for the next games but maybe it will take a long time. I knew it was a very, very big challenge before I came here but it’s not a technical or tactical situation, it’s a mental problem.  “We must change the mindset to the other direction – that is the important thing for me. 

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“I am hopeful that we create a mindset of winners. We will stay together as a team and help the boys, but it’s not simple to bring out the best in the boys and create the turnaround. It’s a very difficult and frustrating situation now.  We just need to win a game.”

Struber took charge of Barnsley in two games in his first eight days as head coach while his first month will see them play seven times.  After tomorrow’s match, they are due to visit Cardiff City the following Saturday before hosting Reading in midweek then Queens Park Rangers on December 14 ahead of a visit to Millwall just before Christmas.  Struber said that busy schedule has benefits and drawbacks. 

He said: “On one side, we can create points very quickly because we have a lot of games when we are able to make the turnaround and get higher in the table. The other side is that we don’t have the chance to do the training we need. That’s our challenge.”