We can beat Everton if we focus, says Barnsley boss Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

BARNSLEY boss Lee Johnson has called for his side to apply maximum concentration to give them the best chance of upsetting Everton tomorrow night.

The League One Reds host the Premier League Toffees at Oakwell in the Capital Cup second round.

And although Everton are understandably firm favourites to triumph, Johnson believes his team can spring a surprise if they play to their potential.

“It’s going to be a tough game against Everton, but we’ll do everything we can to beat them,” said Johnson.

“I’m sure the lads will relish every opportunity to play against them.

“It’s in front of the Sky television cameras, which will be a first time for a lot of them. And it’s the chance to play against a Premier League side.

“If we can have the bravery to take the ball, then we’ll be in it. We are good enough with the ball, so it’s important we are brave and we don’t fear the occasion.”

Johnson’s improving team are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions and showed their character to dump out Scunthorpe United in the last round with a thrilling 7-6 penalty shootout win.

But Johnson acknowledge’s his new-look outfit still need time to gel this season and, if they do, he sees no reason why they can’t push for promotion.

“We’ll compete in every game this season, but we know we’re also a side in progress,” he admitted.

“We have to work towards the dream of getting promotion. We’ve got to work hard to achieve that dream.

“We have to make sure we do everything right to give us the best opportunity of doing that.

“If we’re good enough we’ll get there, but if we’re not then we’ll have to re-assess and keep improving.

“But we’ve got energy, good footballers and passion, so hopefully that will stand us in good stead.

“Wednesday night is a great opportunity for the players to enhance their reputations. Not only theirs, but the club’s as well.

“It will be completely contrasting styles. Everton are the masters of ‘total football’ so it will be interesting whether we can concentrate.

“Sometimes it’s a physical concentration and sometimes it’s a mental concentration.

“But if we can do our bit with the ball as well then I’m sure we’ll go into the game with every chance.”