Barnsley have got off to a solid enough start to the new Championship season despite the Tykes having suffered their first league defeat of the campaign against Luton Town on Tuesday.
It was always likely for Barnsley going to take time to adapt to the new approach that Markus Schopp has adopted after taking over from Valerien Ismael during the summer.
However, a return of four points from their first two Championship games against Cardiff City and Coventry City seemed to be a major positive sign that there would not be too much regression for a side that had reached the play-offs in the English second tier last term.
The Tykes have largely got the same group of players to work with as they did last term, barring the notable departures of the likes of Alex Mowatt, Daryl Dike, Michael Sollbauer and Conor Chaplin.
Schopp is aiming to get his side playing in a very different style to what Ismael worked so for Ismael last season and it is going to be interesting to see how that pays off as the campaign progresses.
With Barnsley having started the season with a win, a draw and a defeat, we take a look at THREE things we’ve clearly learnt from them already this term…
Schopp’s possession-based style will take time to generate results
Last season, Barnsley were very much all about winning the ball back high up in their opponent’s half when they were without the ball, and then getting the ball forwards as quickly as possible when they had possession.
Schopp has already shown signs that he wants to transform the Tykes’ approach and he is more interested in them gaining control of the ball and recycling possession before looking to find ways of breaking down their opponents.
In two of Barnsley’s first three league matches they have averaged more possession than their opponents (55% against Cardiff City and 70% against Luton).
However, the Tykes did not take the lead at any stage in either of those two matches and in fact managed to score just once from a combined total of 20 attempts on goal.
The only game that Barnsley have won so far in the Championship under Schopp came against Coventry when they had just 38% of the ball compared to the Sky Blues’ 62%.
Despite having less possession the Tykes managed to score the only goal of the game and that game followed more of a pattern that we saw under Ismael in terms of grinding out important wins.
That shows that Schopp’s squad are still adapting to his more possession-based brand of football and it might take a while for them to be able to both control and win games by dominating the ball. The Tykes might be wise to not move too far away from what they did last term too quickly.
Quiz: Have Barnsley won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
Barnsley need more cutting edge in the final third
One major issue for the Tykes that is going to perhaps limit the extent they can push on this season under Schopp is their lack of cutting edge in the final third that has been on display in their opening three Championship matches.
Against both Cardiff and Luton, Barnsley struggled to create enough clear-cut chances in the final third to take advantage of having more of the ball.
Schopp’s side managed just three attempts on target in both of those games and that was not enough to help them claim a victory.
Barnsley were not helped against Luton by the fact that Carlton Morris was absent from their squad, while they are still waiting for both Obbi Oularé and Aaron Leya Iseka to come into the squad and add some extra attacking spark in the last third.
Having lost the likes of Dike, Mowatt and Chaplin from the squad last term who contributed 21 goals between them in the league last season, Schopp needs to find the right way of getting more out of his attacking options if they are to challenge for a top-six place once again.
Tykes need one or two more key signings with left-hand side a priority
One obvious area that will need to be addressed for Barnsley in the remaining weeks of the transfer window is the left-hand side of the field.
Both Jordan Williams and Ben Williams are both decent enough options for the Tykes but there is a concern over whether they can be relied upon to remain fully fit for the entire campaign.
Against Luton, Callum Styles was moved back to the left-hand side from the midfield role he had been handed by Schopp at the start of the campaign.
Schopp will want to ensure that a new player is brought in so that he does not have to permanently move Styles back into the position he played for Ismael last term.