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McCann: ‘We Were Excellent’

6 November 2021

Grant McCann felt the defensive structure of his team provided the platform to secure a “big win” at Barnsley.

A goal in each half from George Honeyman and Keane Lewis-Potter earned the Tigers a first victory in six matches with a deserved 2-0 success at Oakwell.

“It’s a big win, given the positions of the teams in the league,” said McCann.

“There’s a two-week break now and the international break has probably come at the wrong time again.

“I said after the West Brom game that defensively, our shape, how organised we were, how disciplined we were, we were disappointed to come away losing the game, obviously given the chances we had at the back end of the game.

“We had to show that again today. We had to show the structure, the shape, the organisation. We know we’ve got goals in the team when we get that right. Today proved that.

“You could see lads throwing bodies in the way and making sure we weren’t going to concede against a Barnsley team off the back of a really good result themselves.

“It’s a tough place to come but I thought we were excellent.”

McCann continued: “We went into the game knowing we were going to set out with a similar plan to what we showed at West Brom.

“Barnsley are a very good pressing team – statistically one of the best in the division. We knew we had to play through and over that press, be calm and composed.

“We wanted to get our front three against their back three as much as possible. I thought Honeyman caused them serious problems first half. He was moving Gomes from left to right and he didn’t know whether to stay in the middle or follow George, which gave Magennis, Mallik and Keane a wee bit more freedom.

“I’ve always said that the shape and the structure is the most important thing and if we get that right behind the ball, the front three can be effective.

“That was the case for us today, that we were effective in terms of what we did behind the ball, which in turn gave us an opportunity to spring from deeper areas of the pitch and try and hurt Barnsley.”

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