Poya Asbaghi has ‘mixed feelings’ after saying Barnsley side produced their best away performance in a 1-1 draw at Swansea City, but seeing them slip ten points off safety as fourth-bottom Reading won.
The Reds took the lead through Claudio Gomes but missed big chances and conceded an equaliser.
Reading’s win at Sheffield United means they are ten points clear of the Reds, who slipped down place to second-bottom because Peterborough also won.
Barnsley host Peterborough on Monday and will be relegated if they lose and Reading beat Swansea at home.
Asbaghi said: “It is mixed feelings. You are so caught in the moment and the game, and we showed commitment and quality and followed the game plan. I was very happy with the performance. But the gap increases and you are just as disappointed with that outcome.
“We know it’s a really difficult task now. I don’t know the percentages for Barnsley to stay up but I can imagine they are not super high. But along as there are some percentages, we will do everything to stay in the league.
“If you isolate the result it’s a good result but, if you look at how many games there are left and what happened in other arenas, we needed to win. We are dependent on other results but we will give it a shot until it’s mathematically impossible. All I can ask of the players is they show the same spirit as today. We played maybe the best away game since I came.”
The Reds missed some big chances, with a home defender hitting his own post at 1-0 then Matty Wolfe shooting off target when well-placed just after the leveller.
Asbaghi said: “Over 90 minutes I really believe we are the superior team. We did a good enough performance to win but didn’t score the decisive goal.
“Wolfie had a good chance at 1-1. But when were 1-0 up and hit the post, it is a decisive moment in the game because they score the equaliser not long after. We still didn’t give up. We can’t complain about the attitude but we could not score the decisive goal and we need to do that.
“I have been in teams when you have momentum and everything goes your way but we are really not like that right now. Everything goes against us. We will keep working to change it.”
Gomes, who scored his first career goal, said: “We did a good game against a tough opponent who are so good at keeping the ball. We had more clear chances and made it hard for them.
“I am proud to get my first goal but, if I had choose, I would prefer to win. Maybe it will still be an important goal, you never know. We keep fighting until the end.”
Jack Walton replaced the injured Brad Collins in goal while Callum Styles was dropped to the bench for Wolfe.
On Styles, Asbaghi said: “We wanted more speed in the counter-attacks. This was a counter-attacking game. Callum is a good player and he will still contribute until the end of the season.
“Jack came in and showed he is a good goalkeeper. He was calm. I have not seen the goal again but, apart from that, he did a good game.”
Walton appeared to pick up a knock in the second half but completed the game, with Asbaghi saying he would be assessed before Monday.