MARKUS Schopp wants his Barnsley side to stop being ‘naive’ when they host an experienced Birmingham City side tomorrow who are the ‘total opposite to my team.’
The Reds have five points from four games so far this season, while Birmingham have seven.
City triumphed 5-0 on Saturday at Luton Town – who won at Oakwell four days earlier – before losing 2-0 at home to Fulham on Tuesday in the EFL Cup with a much-changed team.
The Blues had won 1-0 at Sheffield United on the opening day then failed to score in the first two home games in front of their fans in almost 18 months as they drew 0-0 with Stoke City and lost 2-0 to Bournemouth.
Schopp said: “They are a very good team with a lot of players who have a lot of experience. They are exactly what I have criticised my team for not being. We are too naive and Birmingham are so focused in the big situations.
“It is a tough opponent. It is a team which had a really good result at Luton and they will come here to get the next result.
“It’s so important for the lads to know that they can bring a lot on the pitch. It doesn’t matter which team we are facing, it’s about being clear with how we want to play.
“Birmingham have players who are really focused in the big moments, and we need to be like that.
“We have told the players that is something they have to improve.
“The most important thing is to be more clinical and more mature than we have been so far this season. It is not a question of age, it is mentality.”
Former Barnsley captain Marc Roberts, from Penistone, has started all Birmingham’s league games while former Reds loanee Gary Gardner has also played in them all. They both scored at Luton while former Reds trialist Scott Hogan bagged a brace.
Lee Bowyer, the former Leeds United and England midfielder, moved to his former club the Blues from Charlton Athletic with ten games remaining last season and kept them in the Championship. He won all three games he played against Barnsley as a player then oversaw two wins over them for Charlton at The Valley while drawing 2-2 at Oakwell in 2019 having lost there the previous year.
This will be the 86th meeting of the clubs, with Barnsley winning 26 and losing 39. The Reds have won five of the last eight meetings including the double last season. They came from behind at St Andrew’s to win 2-1 thanks to Cauley Woodrow’s penalty and a deflected Callum Styles shot, then Daryl Dike’s stunning goal secured a 1-0 March win at Oakwell which put them in the top six.
Since 1946, Birmingham have won 16 of their 31 games at Oakwell – losing just six.
It is due to be Callum Brittain’s 50th game for Barnsley.
After tomorrow’s game, there will be a two-week international break until the Reds visit AFC Bournemouth on September 11.
Michal Helik is due to join up with the Polish national team after tomorrow’s game. The 25-year-old centre-back has been selected for three World Cup qualifiers in the international break. Poland host Albania on Thursday, visit San Marino on Sunday, September 5 then host England the following Wednesday.
His fellow centre-back Aapo Halme was in the provisional Finland squad.