Michael Duff was disappointed that Barnsley’s automatic promotion chances were officially ended by a 3-0 loss at home to Ipswich Town but added: ‘most people would have taken fourth this season.’
The Reds can no longer finish in the top two and are likely to stay in their current fourth place, with an outside chance of third, going into the final two games.
Duff told the Chronicle: “We have been beaten 3-0 here before this season. The supporters’ reaction tells you everything. If it had been 3–0 earlier in the season, the players would’ve been booed off. But we were clapped off by the fans who were left. We’ve just broken a 100-year record (for nine straight wins at Oakwell). Most people would have taken fourth this season. There are loads and loads of positives. It’s disappointing because we’ve been chasing the top two or a long, long time.”
Second-placed Ipswich netted twice at the end of the first half then saw a penalty, which Duff thought should not have been given, saved by Harry Isted, before adding a late third.
“We got beaten by a good team. It sounds stupid but I thought we were the better team in the first half and we’ve gone in 2-0 down. In the big games, it’s about moments. We conceded from a set play and two straight balls down the pitch so, for all their good football, we have shot ourselves in the foot with poor goals which is unlike us. We have to learn we can’t give chances up like that.
"If you concede in the 45th minute, get to half-time by hook or by crook. Mads (Andersen) is one of our players of the season and he’s made a mistake (for the second goal). People make mistakes.
“If we are going to get beat I would rather get beat playing the way we want to play. We were brave. We got in their faces, we wanted to press them, we showed good quality and passages of play. There are positives within it once you take away the emotion of the result.”
Luca Connell missed the game due to illness, with Jon Russell starting instead.
“You need to be able to play without players. Everyone gets injuries, sickness and suspension. Jon hasn’t had loads of football so he will be better for it. He started a little bit sloppy but grew into it. Luca has been one of our best players so we were going to miss him. But we’re not a one man team. Everyone has chipped in during this run and everyone will be needed.”
Slobodan Tedic, who scored twice on Saturday, was benched with James Norwood starting up front with Devante Cole.
“It wasn’t a case of dropping Boban. We left him out of the team, he knew he would get on and he was good again.
“Norwood and Cole have been good at home, set the press well and they started well. That wasn’t why we lost.”
Nicky Cadden added: “We lost two stupid goals at a bad time. Losing one just before half-time is annoying then another one right after is upsetting.
“I thought we were really good for 43 minutes and I didn’t know how we were 2-0 down at half-time.
“It would have been a hard task to get the top two even if we won. We just need to focus on the play-offs now and try to win them.”