MARKUS Schopp is grateful to Barnsley’s board for their faith in him during his team’s awful run of form and believes they have taken into account injuries and other problems which he says have led to ‘very tough’ start to his tenure.
Schopp’s side are second-bottom of the Championship with eight points from 14 games – half of which were accrued in the first two, meaning they have taken four from the last 36 available.
Barnsley have lost six league games in a row for the first time since late 2015 under Lee Johnson in League One while they are winless in 12, the longest such league run under one manager since Tim Ward’s club record of 15 in 1959.
They are the joint lowest scorers in the EFL, with Hull City, while only League One bottom club Crewe Alexandra join them with one win.
Chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad said last Friday that Schopp had ‘full support’ but that it would be reviewed on a game-by-game basis. During the 3-2 loss to Sheffield United on Sunday, Barnsley fans chanted ‘we want Markus out’ and ‘sacked in the morning’ then booed him as he walked off the pitch.
Schopp told the Chronicle: “The board have shown faith in me but they know what happened in the last couple of months. It is one thing to judge on results but the board was always informed about the situation we were facing and that it was not easy.
“We made a couple of decisions we had to make in the sense of when players were coming back, how they came in and when they dropped out again.
“We always have to take a look at results and the results don’t talk really really good about the manager in the last couple of weeks. This is definitely something that has to get better but I think they know I do my best. We are getting back a lot of players and, the moment they are added to the team, we will get better because they have more experience than a couple of other guys especially in a situation like this.”
He added: “I know what we’re going through and everyone is wondering how a manager in this position is still here. But in the inner circle we know what we were facing and how much was going on. The team is getting more complete now. The responsible people know that.”
Asked if he would consider resigning, Schopp said: “When I think we can’t reach anything more here, you have to think about everything. But this is not what I see. The lads try each training session to get it right. In games, a lot of things go right then one individual mistake brings us in the wrong way.
“I am pretty sure we will turn this around and the lads will get a lot of what they invested back.”
El-Ahmad – who began his role in September – said Schopp may not have received enough support early in his tenure, as he could not bring in his own assistants, many staff left, there was no chief executive and there were problems with signing players and getting visas.
Schopp told the Chronicle: “It was not the easiest way to start, to be honest. But nobody cares about that and I never complained about it. We figured it out.
“When the results are going in the right direction, nobody notices something like that. I don’t want to make too much about what happened because we are living in this moment which is a tough one. I am still in charge, I am responsible. I am really convinced we can bring it in the right direction.”
The Reds, who are three points from safety, tomorrow travel to Bristol City who have not won at home since January.
They then host the other two sides currently in the relegation zone in Derby County, on Wednesday, and Hull the following Saturday before a two-week international break.
Schopp said: “The wins need to come, it is as simple as that. It’s a tough run, but we’re not missing that much.
“You will see in the moment when we get there, that everything will get easier. We have to work for that.
“It’s still early in the season but it’s never too early to start getting the points. We want to have as many points as possible. We threw away a lot of points at the start of the season then we were struggling in the last period.”
Striker Devante Cole suggested that the comeback from 3-0 down to 3-2 in Sunday’s derby was inspired by the players and not the manager.
Schopp said: “I feel the players believe in me. This is what we communicate in the group.
“We are united, this is not a problem. Don’t worry. The players get asked about certain moments in the game and every player has to explain lot of things.
“When you lose so many games in a row you start thinking a lot of things.”
Schopp believes Barnsley can build on their final 15 minutes against Sheffield United in which they came from 3-0 down to 3-2.
“We have to be more clinical in the last third which we have discussed since the first week. We created so many chances in the last 20 minutes, and scored twice, but we have to start like that now, not just when we are 3-0 down.”
Asked if he could ever heal his relationship with the fans, Schopp said: “My goal is to win them around.
“When you have a record like me with this many games not winning, it is the logical way that the fans point at one person – the manager.
“That is how it works. My biggest goal is to start winning. I still believe that will happen.”
Mads Andersen and Josh Benson could potentially return to the side tomorrow while Carlton Morris is expected to be fit after the international break.
“Mads was one of the best players last season and gave a lot of confidence to other players. Having this player back will be a huge advantage.
“When Carlton played with Cauley (Woodrow) at the beginning, it looked really really good.
“Josh is a really interesting player.
“We adapted to how he wanted to play then he got injured and we had to adapt in a different way. These are players who will make us stronger and we will get better with them.”