They Gave Me Everything - Harsley
Barnsley caretaker gaffer Paul Harsley has praised the players for given him their all in the draw with Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.
Hosting the side at Oakwell just days after Paul Heckingbottom walked away to take the vacant managerial position at Leeds United, Harsley couldn't have been more pleased with the players for taking his words on board and battling to a point on the day in the South Yorkshire derby in what was his debut in the dug out.
Having seen the visitors take the lead in the 18th minute as Atdhe Nuhiu scored from the penalty spot, Barnsley were back on level terms just three minutes later as Oli McBurnie hit the back of the net.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the press following the game at the weekend, Harsley knew that having dominated the fixture we really should've come away from the match with all three points so he was going to take the positives regardless.
'It was a well-fought game. Both sides battled hard, we knew it would be a tight game, we thoroughly expected it would come down to one goal. But personally I thought for the first 60 minutes we were the team trying to win it. I think after that it just fizzled out a little bit, we couldn't quite keep up the energy and the momentum. But I said to the lads in the changing room, I applaud your efforts, you kept going right to the end trying to win the game but we just couldn't get the win in the end.'
The award of the early penalty looked like it might derail what had been a bright start from the side, and Harsley knew it was certainly contentious, but he was pleased with the way the players reaction to that moment and picked themselves up rather than feeling hard done by.
'I thought ours was a penalty and theirs wasn't. Simple as that really. If he's giving theirs he has to give ours. From what I saw, Lucas Joao's took a couple of steps to the left and then fallen over. Adam Hammill, I'm not sure why he'd go over there. He's drawn the challenge, the foul, he's gone down in the box as the lad's come across him and it's a penalty all day for me. But particularly so if he's giving that first one. However, I saw enough out there despite all that to give everyone encouragement moving forwards. There's a really good bunch of lads here and the results will come.'
With Barnsley's impetus in attack coinciding with the substitutions of Lloyd Isgrove and Oli McBurnie, Harsley was full of praise for both given their individual performances.
'Oli has been outstanding all week in training, he's a real livewire and he's fresh to the club. We knew that he'd be able to link play and draw out their five at the back, and he did that superbly. His goal was first class and he was close in the second half too once or twice. But he's not played a lot of football recently and he was cramping up a little bit, he knew he'd run out of steam. But it was a good 70 minutes for him and will hold him in good stead.'
'It's the same for Lloyd too really, he's not played any football for a while, but I really like him, I like his dynamism. There was one incident where he's took the man outside, inside and back outside. He was really proactive and energised us. But again, we knew he'd not get much further than the hour mark. That change was always in our mind.'
Having been drafted in as Heckingbottom's replacement, it's been a busy week for Harsley and his makeshift team and whilst thanking them for their effort, he also thanked the players for making them feel welcome. He just wishes the week could've ended with three points.
'The players were class, they couldn't have given me more or been any more responsive to what we were asking of them. And the staff too, everyone really pulled together in the last few days after what had happened, which we don't need to go over I'm sure. But there's great people here and even though it was gutting not to get the win which I felt we deserved, especially for the players, they deserved more out of the game, but despite all that I really enjoyed it and it was an honour to lead this team, this club.'