Poya Asbaghi said Barnsley’s first 55 minutes in the 2-0 loss at Sheffield United were among the best performances under him but he was very disappointed with the opening goal and the reaction to it.

The Reds had the better chances in the first half then conceded in the 55th minute and the hosts were then well on top.

Asbaghi said: “The first 55 minutes were really good. Maybe our best away performance, and better than against Fulham and Bristol City in the last two games.

“We had the game where we wanted it. It was not that we super-dominated but I really felt we dictated terms. In a pretty even game, we were the better team.

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“We did well in the second half for ten minutes but then they get a free-kick, we knew they take them fast but still they were able to surprise us which is really disappointing.

“The reaction after that is not what I was hoping for. We changed what we were doing and we didn’t need to. Sheffield had been suffering, they didn’t have the game they were expecting, you could see they were surprised by Barnsley.

“When they scored, a lot of confidence that was lost was gained. They became a better team with the help of the supporters. We needed to step up but instead we lost the ball a couple of times and they had better chances. The last 35 minutes after the goal is something we definitely need to improve.”

United’s opener saw Barnsley exposed by a quick free-kick. Asbaghi said: “The last thing we said before going out for the second half was ‘guys they are fast with their set pieces so we have to be aware.’ Sometimes it just kicks you back in the face.”

Defender Mads Andersen added: “We should have been more ready for the free-kick. It’s not good enough. It’s everybody. We shouldn’t switch off in a situation like that. We can’t do that. We have to learn from it.

“We played a good first hour but to lose 2-0 is very disappointing. We felt like we were on top of them but then we stopped following the plan.

“We can take some good things from the first hour. It’s not a disaster. This is a tough ground to go to. We just have to keep the confidence high.”

Asbaghi knows the Reds will have to react better to falling behind in their final eight games of the season.

“You are going to suffer in games and you have to be good at suffering. We are good when we are good but we need to be better at suffering.

“We have been ruled out by everybody at the bottom of the league. That part of suffering we have done in a pretty impressive way. But in games when we are playing well then the opponents score, you have to be better at overcoming that. It is normal that this is not our biggest strength as a young team but this is a must for us in the last eight games because we are in a really difficult position.”

Matty Wolfe missed two good chances for his first Barnsley goal at 0-0.

Asbaghi said: “The team that took the lead would have a big advantage. Matty has done well but his biggest attribute is not his goal-scoring. I know he could score but I also felt we had other chances.”

Romal Palmer came off the bench just before the second goal, for which he missed a tackle.

Asbaghi said: “Romal, when he has come on in other games, he has done well. He wins a lot of second balls and played passes into the last third. I haven’t seen the second goal but my feeling Romal was not the one who lost the ball.”