Gerhard Struber said Patrick Schmidt’s last-minute winner at Millwall as ‘a massive moment’ in Barnsley’s relegation fight while the scorer said it was a career highlight. 

Schmidt headed in after 94 minutes, following a late equaliser from the hosts after Conor Chaplin had opened the scoring. The Reds moved up from bottom to 22nd with their first away with of the season and a gap to safety which had been eight points is now just one. 

Struber told the Chronicle: “It’s a massive moment and a brilliant situation for us. We created a very very good game today with so much engagement. This is the key when we develop in the next weeks. I am very happy today and so are my players." 

He added: “We created a very good second half. We had problems in in the first half to have control on the ball and to have a good positioning and we were nervous on the ball. 

“But Conor Chaplin has a big momentum now and he scored a goal which was a big moment for us.  After their equaliser, we had to believe in our quality and believe that we could win. That is what we have created. We are very happy and we will have a merry Christmas with this win. 

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“Over the 90 minutes, I was very happy with our engagement and our mentality to win away.  We saw a Barnsley team with a mentality and quality that is not like a relegation team and, for us, this is very important . It is not simple to win at Millwall but it is a big victory for us. It gives us big heart and a good feeling for the future.” 

Schmidt, who scored the winner from a Luke Thomas cross, said: “The feeling was just amazing. I can’t find words because we have worked so hard over the last weeks and months and had so many good games but didn’t get the rewards. It wasn’t a good first half but Chaps scored a beautiful goal and I had the feeling today is the day we turn things. It was not our best performance but we got the three points. 

“I told the coach that we could turn things around but then I was on for one minute and we conceded the equaliser. We put everything forwards because we knew it was our day.

“It was a good cross from Luke. Yesterday when we were at dinner, he was the coming to the queue and I let him go in front of me but I said he had to give me an assist. It happened like that and I am very happy. 

“This is what we will keep us moving. The mood after the game is amazing, everybody is so happy and shouting and screaming. Now we need to give more great performance to get more points. 

“I was a little bit surprised because normally heading is not my strength but I am happy to help the team with a header. It is one of the highlights of my career.”

Struber was pleased that his substitutes Schmidt and Thomas combined to get the winner. He said: “I trust my whole team. We have very very good players and we can always change them, it is not so important to me who is the player who scores. The teamwork is big for us.”

Struber revealed that the Reds only had six substitutes because Mamadou Thiam is ill, while Kenny Dougall was ruled out through injury.  

The Austrian coach is now travelling back home tonight to celebrate Christmas with his family. He said: “I am very happy that I go home with three points. I am looking forward to Boxing Day.”