New Barnsley boss Markus Schopp targets play-offs and beyond at Oakwell

Markus Schopp has inherited a Barnsley team that last season set standards not seen at Oakwell since the days of Danny Wilson in the late 1990s, but the club’s latest Austrian coach says his aim is to be better in 2020-21.

Markus Schopp, Barnsley manager. Picture: Barnsley FC
Markus Schopp, Barnsley manager. Picture: Barnsley FC

After finishing fifth in last season’s Championship and qualifying for the play-offs, the Reds lost manager Valerien Ismael, some of his backroom staff and out-of-contract midfielder Alex Mowatt to West Bromwich Albion, saw American international Daryl Dike’s loan come to an end and allowed Austrian defender Michael Sollbauer to move closer to his family.

Schopp says the club has no plans to sell any more players and are targeting replacements for those experienced figures who have left, particularly Mowatt, with another play-off campaign the target for the season.

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“Last season was awesome,” said the man who joined from TSV Hartberg. “I think nobody thought at the beginning of the season something like that could happen but we are in a business where everything can happen.

“It’s all about hard work. When you saw my previous team, we work a lot and that’s the basis. It’s up to us to put some extras to the style we want to play.”

Standard Liege forward Obbi Oulare has been strongly linked as a replacement for Dike, though Schopp was reluctant to say anything about specific transfer targets.

When it came to performance targets, he was much more forthcoming, however.

“The team is focused and really hungry and that’s the most important thing for me as a coach, to get a team that wants to get to the next level,” he said. “I’m here to help them.

“It’s always the aim to make it better. It’s exactly what makes us hungry as coaches. It’s my work to give this (ability) to the players so that they don’t feel they’ve already reached the peak, they can do better.

“It’s up to us to find better solutions. That’s the process we’re in right now and it’s very interesting.

“Reaching the play-offs is a big thing and if we can talk about this in a couple of months, it would be better but of course it’s the main target (at this stage of pre-season). There are so many good teams in this league, really good teams that have come down from the Premier League and other teams with big ambitions,” he added.

“It’s first of all about us, finding our style, to find our way and create everything important to us before I look to the other teams.”