Gerhard Struber believes Barnsley are showing a ‘completely different mentality’ to when he arrived at the club in November, following their 2-1 home success at home to Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town.

Alex Mowatt and Conor Chaplin put the Reds 2-0 up then the hosts held on after their lead was halved. They are now third-bottom in the Championship, one point from safety.  Head coach Struber told the Chronicle: “I am a happy coach. I am very proud of my team, we played very well against a big opponent. Huddersfield is a big name and they have a big budget but my team, especially in the first half, created a very good game.  “We made the next step in my style on the ball and we had so much control. That is very very important to stay in the league. I saw so many things that we work on in training every day.  

“We need to learn from the second half because we lost a bit of control and the opponent had chances with long balls which are very hard to defend. 

“In the end, I am very happy with the performance and the mentality to win which is the biggest change that we have made in the last two months. I see a completely different mentality when I speak with the boys and when I look in their eyes. 

“When Huddersfield scored, we kept cool and had our mind always on the task, not thinking about a big fantasy. There was a lot of teamwork.”

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Huddersfield could have been ten points ahead of the Reds with a win but instead the gap is just four. Struber said: “It is the reality that, when we win, other clubs drop down. But my focus is only on my team and that we always climb higher every week. In the end, I have a big conviction that we will stay in the league when we have this conviction, this style and this character.” 

Barnsley are unbeaten in five at home and Struber is pleased that they are rewarding the fans’ support. He said: “We have a big support from our fans and I happy that we can show this performance to them and get three points which is so important. When our fans go home today they say ‘Barnsley is a fighting team with hard-workers’. This is what we do every game.”

Captain Alex Mowatt, who opened the scoring, said: “It was a massive win for us. We were much the better team in the first half and dominated then the second half was more scrappy but we saw it out and got the win. We were clinical, we didn’t have many chances but we put them away. They put some balls into the box and I was scared right at the end but it was nice to win.” 

Mowatt netted his third goal of the season after playing at the tip of the diamond in midfield. He said: “I enjoyed it in that position, playing more centrally. It lets me get in the box and I got a goal as well. I have scored three goals against Huddersfield now in my career so I like playing against them.” 

Struber said of debutant Marcel Ritzmaier who started the game: “He had a good game in an absolutely new team. He was very good in the forward defending situations. He is a big help for us with his experience and his quality.”  Barnsley brought in right-back Kilian Ludewig on Thursday to compete with Jordan Williams, who impressed against his former club Huddersfield. Struber said: “Jordan was brilliant and I am very happy with him. Kili is an option for right-back but today I have big compliments for Jordan because he had a top game.” 

On Jacob Brown, who got two assists, Struber said: “I am very happy with him. He works so hard, in games and in training. He is very important for my style and my team. He is a big talent with a top mentality.”