Markus Schopp: Why Barnsley FC and their manager had to go their separate ways – Leon Wobschall

FOR every continental player who cracks it in the unforgiving Championship, there’s one or two more who simply never get up to speed and soon head off back into the sunset and are quickly forgotten.

Barnsley boss Markus Schopp feels the pressure during a home defeat to Nottingham Forest at the end of September. 
Picture: Tony Johnson
Barnsley boss Markus Schopp feels the pressure during a home defeat to Nottingham Forest at the end of September. Picture: Tony Johnson

The same applies to managers. It’s that simple. Recruiting from Europe - even though Barnsley have previously struck gold - comes laden with risk. By the law of averages, you don’t get them all right and on this occasion, Barnsley got one badly wrong in Markus Schopp.

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Schopp exits Oakwell after Reds dreadful start to season

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Barnsley’s decision to dispense with his services after a run of seven straight defeats looks a blessing for the 47-year-old in truth. Even if his pride understandably won’t admit as much at the minute after being shown the door after a luckless 15 league games in charge.

Barnsley manager Markus Schopp, pictured on the touchline at Ashton Gate during Saturday's defeat to Bristol City Picture: Simon Galloway/PA

In one of the most competitive leagues in world football, the Austrian - a good guy - simply could not cope.

His unconvincing, muddled utterances in press conferences were starting to stack up, much as they did in the similarly unsatisfactory Jose Morais era.

Judging by Schopp’s demeanour after the recent pitiful loss at Middlesbrough, it was starting to take its toll on a human level. If he could not provide clarity with the media, surely it was hard to see him doing so with his players.

Barnsley manager Markus Schopp signs autographs ahead of Saturday's match against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Picture: Simon Galloway/PA

His players did not help him out either and the fact that several key figures from last season have suffered alarming form dips cannot be totally pinned on Schopp. But he did not help himself either.

His constant talk of ‘finding solutions’ before and after games had sadly started to sound like a broken record and was perhaps indicative of his frazzled mindset. He could not find any answers.

In truth, the Austrian walked into a storm when he arrived at Oakwell. Following Valerien Ismael was a thankless task, more especially when Barnsley also lost their heartbeat in Alex Mowatt, another respected senior figure in Michael Sollbauer and several valued backroom staff members.

Some lamentable recruitment compounded matters and Schopp cannot be blamed for that. Or some untimely injuries to leading lieutenants such as Mads Andersen and Carlton Morris.

Markus Schopp, pictured at Oakwell shortly after being announced as the Reds manager. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC

But his idealistic desire to pursue a style makeover among a core playing group who were highly successful in what they did under Ismael last season in terms of getting results was naive and bordered on the reckless.

It did not pay due respect to a division where, first and foremost, you must earn the right to play in a hard league where the games come thick and fast.

Barnsley’s success last season was forged on a ferocious work ethic and intense pressing, squeezing the pitch and being incredibly hard to play against and winning duels. As an opposing side, they were awful to play against. Under Schopp, they were too nice, meek, soft, passive.

The stats were thoroughly damning. Thirteen games without a win, seven straight defeats, and a pathetic win ratio to boot.

Even accounting for that bad hand that Schopp had undeniably given, those numbers paint him in a pretty disparaging light. His plan was in bits and it was time to change course.

Barnsley are a side bang on trouble and require a fire-fighter who can bring people together and provide clarity in terms of a game plan and put round pegs in round holes.

A rabble-rouser to follow such as Stendel or a single-minded, ruthless figure such as Ismael for whom winning is king and he is not bothered how he gets there. Easier said than done.