Barnsley: Our lads can take confidence from Wembley performance, says manager Paul Heckingbottom
Head coach Paul Heckingbottom wants Barnsley to use their Wembley performance as a confidence boost in the league.
The Reds fought bravely as they bowed out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round at Premier League big guns Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night.
On another night they might have made it three from three under the famous arch in recent times - after their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and play-off successes at the iconic ground in the 2015/16 campaign.
Heckingbottom said: “There were lots of positives from that performance. Hopefully we can take confidence from it into Saturday’s trip to Wolves.
“I told the players before they went out that I was delighted they fielded a strong side because it meant it was a real test for us.
“I’m not pleased with the result, of course not, but there were elements of the game I was really pleased with.
“The lads defended very well and limited them to opportunities outside the box.
“The lads can take a lot of credit from their performance against a side who will be challenging to win the Premier League.”
It was a distinctly inexperienced side and Heckingbottom feels they performed admirably after being called upon.
Goalkeeper Adam Davies was the only player in the starting line-up who had played in either of the Reds’ last two visits to Wembley.
He added: “We left all of our experience on the bench so what a test it was for the players who came in.
“They’ve never played at this level or played at this ground and didn’t have many league games behind them.
“We’re in the middle of playing seven games in three weeks with a massive game at Wolves this weekend.
“I wanted to beat Wolves more than I wanted to beat Tottenham.
“I thought it was an opportunity to put players on the pitch who I haven’t seen much of.”
The whole team put a real shift in, but the players who deserved the most praise were centre backs Angus MacDonald and Liam Lindsay.
Club captain MacDonald was playing for the first time since suspension.
He kept Spanish international Fernando Llorente, a £12m deadline-day signing, quiet and quipped he would let the Spaniard “out of his pocket” after the game.
He said: “It’s bittersweet because we matched them but lost the game.
“I’ll let him out of my pocket later.
“It’s not daunting when you come up against those players.
“You get the clips and watch what they do week in week out and see their strengths and weaknesses and adapt yourself around that.”