Barnsley FC: Just where has it gone so wrong in a desperate 2021-22?

ELEVEN CHAMPIONSHIP games without a win, five straight defeats, no goal in the second half of a game since the opening day of 2021-22, the lowest goalscorers in the Championship with just four scorers so far this season and no goal from open play in eight games..

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Beleaguered Barnsley FC head coach Markus Schopp on his future

It has been a desperate run of form from Barnsley and their embattled head coach Markus Schopp. Here the Yorkshire Post looks at the principal reasons in a fraught start to the campaign.

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Changing of a successful playing style

Embattled Barnsley head coach Markus Schopp, pictured on the touchline at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Barnsley had a defined and highly successful way of playing last season under Valerien Ismael, even if it was not necessarily pretty. Teams hated playing against them and the results vindicated the means.

They squeezed the pitch, worked relentlessly without the ball, won second balls, got in team's faces and enjoyed the ugly side of the game and played the ball behind opposition defences and were strong at set-plays. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, surely.

The Reds have looked a pale shadow of the side who proved arguably the Championship success story of 2020-21 and the decision to change their style has backfired spectacularly and drained the confidence tanks of a young side. It was thoroughly naive.

Barnsley are now easy to play against and the possession-based game that Markus Schopp wants to play has only brought carelessness and aimlessness and it is no coincidence that many of last season's stars have suffered in the process. There is no clarity and cohesion.

Injuries

As a new head coach, Schopp needs injuries to two leading players from last season in Mads Andersen and Carlton Morris like a hole in the head.

Andersen was outstanding at the back and while Daryl Dike took the lions' share of the plaudits from January onwards, the impact of Morris was not lost upon anyone.

The absence of Josh Benson has also been a blow, while the likes of Liam Kitching, Callum Styles and Aapo Halme have also had spells out of the side.

That said, all sides suffer with injury. The art of management is dealing with them.

Recruitment

Barnsley could not bargained for the visa fiasco regarding the availability of Aaron Leya Iseka and Obbi Oulare, but even if they had been available, both would not have been up to Championship speed in any case. Both look punts done in a hurry as opposed to strategically made and measured signings.

Oulare has struggled with his fitness, with his cameo from the bench at Middlesbrough being his first game-time for the Reds since arriving.

Iseka has shown the odd flash here and there, but very much looks a work in progress at this level. The likes of Claudio Gomes and Remy Vita are rookies with plenty to prove, while Devante Cole has made just one start in the league this season, which begs the question: 'Why was he brought in?'

The lack of Championship-proven experience in Barnsley's line-up looks alarmingly stark and reflects poorly on the decision-makers in the corridors of power at Oakwell where there is a distinct absence of 'football people.'

The decision not bring in an experienced player in the midfield to help compensate for the loss of Alex Mowatt looks totally reprehensible.

Barnsley have had some poor transfer windows and the one last summer is right up there. That includes the decision to opt for Schopp.

The head coach. The most biggest factor

The bottom line is that Markus Schopp has palpably failed to adapt to the Championship and the statistics are damning. The game plan looks muddled and players look lost and aside from a convincing half of football at QPR, they has been next to no evidence of an identity from his side.

Fans have been craving hope and to buy into something positive regarding the Schopp era. But 13 games in and the cupboard is pretty bare and there is no evidence to suggest that things will significantly change - other than the return of Andersen, Morris and Benson.

The fact that Barnsley have not scored in the second half of a game since the opening day of the season portrays an inability to change things successfully from the bench and the Austrian - nice guy that he is - has lost the faith of the overwhelming majority of the Oakwell fanbase, alongside some strange tactical calls.

You also get the feeling that some players have also lost faith in him, just as importantly and unlike Ismael, Struber and Stendel, he does not have the look of a leader and someone who players are buying into at all or following.