Reds captain claims coach has full support

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Alfie Mawson admits to having had some sleepless nights as Barnsley look to end a run of four successive league defeats today.

The Tykes host Fleetwood Town today, and captain Mawson is part of a youthful-looking Reds team who are being forced to grow up quickly under head coach Lee Johnson.

With midfielder Ben Pearson suspended and up to seven first-teamers sidelined with injury 21-year-old Mawson admits Barnsley have been bullied of late.

Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Walsall at Oakwell was particularly harsh for Mawson, who insists the players are fully behind under-pressure coach Johnson.

“We have all got faith in the gaffer that he will push us on,” he said. “It’s a sticky patch, it’s trying to keep our heads high.

“After Tuesday, I went home and couldn’t sleep for ages – going over the game –- and I was angry with myself. I feel I let myself down, let my standards drops, and I was annoyed. But we are going to get through this.

“Obviously, it’s not where we want to be. Everyone knows that. We know what we have got to do, we have to grind out the points, get some points on the board.

“Other than Walsall and Southend, we haven’t been doing much wrong. We haven’t changed our style, playing the right way.

“But the last couple of games, we have petered off a little bit and I think we have been bullied on the pitch.

“That lack of experience has come out and shown. If we can get that little bit of maturity in our game then I am sure the club will have no problems.

“We are with the gaffer 100 per cent. Regardless of the results, we are still learning. I know it’s not what the fans want to hear, but if we are getting better then we are only going to gel, kick-on and get better results.

“You go in that changing room and there is not one player who would say ‘maybe we need another manager’. He has faith in us, and we all have faith in him.”

Johnson could call up players from the Reds’ Academy today, to bolster his depleted squad.

He admits man-management is key to the progression of his young players.

“You can’t keep hitting young players with a stick, sometimes you have to give them a cuddle,” he said.

“You just have to maintain that belief, we have some good talented players. The positive from this, is in seven to 10 days’ time we have got seven starters – if most people picked a team, they would be in it – coming back. We are not in bad shape, we are just in an unfortunate patch.”