MICHAL Helik has his long-term sights set on next year’s World Cup but, for now, is completely focused on helping Barnsley move up the Championship table.

The 26-year-old centre-back played twice for Poland last week as they moved into second place in their qualifying group for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He told the Chronicle: “It was very busy with a lot of travelling but I need to do this if I want to play in the national team. It’s not my first time. I have felt good in all the games.

“We had two big wins, especially against Albania. We got good results and we want to get to the World Cup.

“For the national team it is going well but now I am back in Barnsley and I am disappointed with our results here.”

Helik was part of the Reds side that finished fifth last season but now they find themselves in the relegation zone.

“We have lost self-confidence as a team and it’s getting tougher and tougher.

“But we can do nothing more than keep fighting. I hope we will get the results soon. I don’t want to speak much about last season. We need to focus on this season. Of course it is a big change but we need to find a solution.

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“We have big expectations about this season but it is what it is and we need to manage the situation well.

“We know we have the quality after last season and we can compete with the best teams in this league. I hope that, after we break this run, we can get higher and higher in the table. I have the feeling it could be still a good season for us. Last season we were also struggling then we had a great winning streak.”

While Helik was on international duty, the other Barnsley players had candid meetings with head coach Markus Schopp.

He said: “I know the guys all spoke together and I heard it was a really good two weeks in the international break.

“We are more of a team now and we need to stay together.”