Martin Devaney says his first match as caretaker ‘didn’t quite go to plan’, as Barnsley lost 2-0 at home to Blackpool, but was proud to lead the team out.
Caretaker boss Devaney said pre-match that he wanted his team to restore pride by fighting, pressing and being on the front foot but the Reds delivered a poor performance in their first game after relegation was confirmed at the weekend then Poya Asbaghi left .
Devaney told the Chronicle: “It’s disappointing but it’s a tough task, with the relegation and the disappointment of that and we have a young team. We have had two training sessions to prepare for a game against a good side. It didn’t quite go to plan. I spoke positively before to get that little extra five per cent out of the players.
“I spoke about being on the front foot but it’s very hard when we’ve had a season like this. There were little spells when the pressing was there but it’s difficult period for everyone.
“I’m not worried, we will keep fighting. I am trying to be as positive as I can for those young players, I don’t want to be a leader who is talking negatively.
“It’s a demoralised team but I have to stay professional and do the best I can for the players because they need as much help as they can get.”
The former Barnsley winger, who played 176 games for the club, was in charge of the first team for the first time.
“It was a proud moment. I knew it would be difficult. I was really proud to lead that team out tonight. It didn’t go how I wanted it to but that’s football. I want to win and I will win moving forward. But I am realist and I am just making sure that the environment in the last ten days of the season is as positive as it can be.”
There were larger gaps in the stands than usual and, by the end of the match, only a few thousand home fans remained.
Devaney said: “I want to thank the fans for coming out tonight because I know it’s difficult. I understand it why some stayed way but I wanted to put a smile on the faces of the ones who came. It didn’t work out how I wanted but that’s football. I will learn from this experience.”
Barnsley conceded from a lofted ball over the top in the first half then a free-kick cross in the second.
“The first goal is really poor, coming down the left side. We never got going on that side. The second goal has happened a lot this year, not defending the back post very well and conceding from a set piece. They were two avoidable and very disappointing goals.”
Loan players Amine Bassi, Claudio Gomes and Domingos Quina were at the game but their deals have been cancelled following relegation.
Devaney said: “We’re trying to build towards next season. I need to give the young players the opportunity to play in the Championship then we will know a little bit more where they are in terms of their development.”
Devaney brought Will Hondermarck on at right wing-back, having previously impressed in central midfield.
“Will played in the under 23s at centre mid but he’s had his better games at right wing-back so that was why that decision was made.”
Devaney said Aaron Leya Iseka pulled out of training yesterday with an injury but was not ruled out definitely for the season.
Defender Jasper Moon added: “It’s obviously tough. It’s been a tough week with getting relegated. We’re using pride as our motivation and trying to perform for the fans but it didn’t happen which is disheartening. The gameplan was to be energetic and press from the front and we started well but it was tough as the game went on.”