Poya Asbaghi admitted Barnsley let their supporters down in a 4-1 thrashing at Millwall, questioned the workrate and said they did not look like a side who are good enough to stay in the Championship.
More than 500 Reds fans made the trip to London to watch the joint worst result of the season and arguably the worst performance.
Asbaghi told the Chronicle: “We let the fans down. They were Barnsley’s best players today by far. We have to make sure they see in the next game that we put on a bigger fight and see players who go in with their heads first every duel not like today.”
Callum Brittain and Callum Styles missed chances at 0-0 then the Reds went 2-0 down and, after Romal Palmer replied, conceded two more. The goals were down to very poor collectively and individual defending.
Asbaghi said: “In the first half we were better than a team that was fighting for the play-offs but, overall, it was not good enough for a team that wants to stay in the Championship. Hopefully we can say it’s an exception.
“Defensively it was the worst performance since I arrived. In the first half we had a good chance with Britts then an even better chance with Styles who is one on one with the goalkeeper.
“The first half is even but we had the better chances. Millwall were more efficient by scoring the goal.
“When we made it 2-1 I was hopeful that would give us momentum and make them nervous, but we gave the game away and it’s not good enough defensively.”
Asbaghi also questioned his team’s work ethic. He added: “There are players who defend well but overall it’s not good enough. Today was the first time I am really disappointed with the defensive performance. This was the first time I did not see a hard-working team winning duels.
“You will not stay in the league if you go 50 per cent in duels. We got a glimpse today of what happens if you do that.”
Defender Mads Andersen added: “Our start was good, we created chances then they got the goal which was not good enough. We were very poor in the second half. We didn’t fight, we didn’t show we wanted to win. It was not good enough. You can have a bad touch or pass but you have to always show you want to be there and work hard.”
Asked if Barnsley gave up, Asbaghi told the Chronicle: “I don’t think we gave up. It was tough. We haven’t been a team that can turn games around. The 3-1 goal took away a lot of belief. I put in more offensive players. But the impact of that was we lost balance, we couldn’t win the ball. It looks like we have given up but it is more to do with the balance.”
Barnsley remain eight points from safety with six games to play.
Asbaghi said: “It doesn’t shake my belief. I know that the players have been good at improving from game to game. We were looking to be more creative and attacking today but, unfortunately, in the chase of that, we lost percentages in defending which we had been doing well at. We have to find a balance to win games.”
Brad Collins came off with an injured shoulder after 24 minutes and was replaced by Jack Walton who had not played in the league for more than a year. Asbaghi would not provide details on Collins’ injury but admitted that the absence of him and centre-back Michal Helik, who is also injured, are big blows.
“They are two of players who are the backbone of our defending. I am confident the players who came in can have good games if every player is putting on a fight.
“If you come in as a goalkeeper and you have players in front of you who are not taking the fight.
“When Mich is not playing we lose probably our best player on set pieces and, when the team knows that, they have to concentrate even more.”
Asbaghi started Palmer instead of Matty Wolfe.
“Romal has been really good in training, scoring a lot of goals. It didn’t surprise me that he scored. I thought we could get more threat with him starting.
“Why we lost this game is not because Romal started, he did what we wanted from him.”