Barnsley midfielder Alex Mowatt has insisted that the Tykes are better prepared for their meeting with Swansea City in the play-off semi-final than they were in their league meetings.
The Tykes are facing the two biggest games they have played for a number of years when they take on Swansea for a place in the Championship play-off final.
Barnsley were beaten twice by the Welsh club during the regular season, both times by a 2-0 scoreline and that is something they are going to have to learn from if they are to make it through to Wembley.
The last meeting between the two sides came back in January and Swansea edged that one 2-0 at Oakwell. That result left the Tykes in 10th place in the table and they were six points adrift of Reading in sixth. The Swans were sat in second place in the league following that win and looked on course to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
However, since that game, Valerian Ismael’s went on to claim 44 points from 22 games to reach play-offs, while their opponents picked up ten fewer points during that period and were unable to maintain their position inside the top-two.
Quiz: Did these 19 things happen at Barnsley in 2020/21?
Speaking to Barnsley’s official website, Mowatt suggested that the Tykes have learned their lessons from the way they lost the two league games against Swansea this season. He also insisted that they are a different proposition now following the excellent form they produced in the latter half of the campaign.
He said: “To be honest, they scored four goals – three of them were set-pieces and one of them was a mistake at the back so it’s not like they carved us open. If we concentrate on the set-pieces, we’ll be alright.
“The runs that we’ve been on since have been unbelievable and the way we’re playing now is a lot different to then, so I think we’re a different team.”
Mowatt is right that Barnsley are going to be a much tougher prospect for Swansea to face this time around than they were when the two sides met back in January. Barnsley have been the in-form side out of the two clubs during the period after that meeting. They will therefore have a lot of confidence within their squad that they can come out on top in the semi-final.
Steve Cooper’s side will have a slight mental advantage knowing that they can beat Barnsley having done so twice already this term. However, they have not faced the Tykes in the sort of form or mood that they will be in now. That means that they need to be prepared for a different kind of game to the ones they edged in the regular campaign.
The midfielder is clearly trying to play some mind games with Swansea, and there is always going to be a little bit of that ahead of such an important game. It is going to come down to who handles the occasion the better over both legs, and Mowatt seems to be very confident that can be the Tykes.