Evans admits he got team selection wrong against Barnsley

Peterborough United manager Steve Evans.
Peterborough United manager Steve Evans.
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Peterborough United manager Steve Evans has admitted he blundered with his team selection and choice of formation as his side were thumped 4-0 at home by an outstanding Barnsley side on Saturday (October 6).

Evans again moved away from the 4-4-2 set-up which has served the club well in an excellent start to the League One campaign. He also included winger Marcus Maddison in the side even though he had struggled all week with a virus.

And Posh were picked apart by the visiting Tykes who served up the biggest away victory at the ABAX since MK Dons won 4-0 there in January, 2017.

Posh remain second in League One, three points behind Portsmouth. They take on Brighton Under 21s in a Checkatrade Trophy tie at the ABAX Stadium tomorrow (October 9) before travelling to Scunthorpe in League One on Saturday (October 13).

“I should have had more belief in what we are good at,” Evans admitted.

“I should have backed my players to deliver within a 4--4-2 formation, but instead I tried to stop Barnsley playing. They have deep-lying midfielders who get on the ball and start attacks and I felt a formation with Jamie Walker playing off Ivan Toney would counter that.

“It didn’t work, but it didn’t help that the players also performed way below their normal levels.

“We had an excellent team meeting yesterday and to be fair to the players they tried to take the blame. They admitted they were way off the pace, but managers are there to be shot at when things go wrong.

“I drove into work today listening to callers to the radio criticising Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola so it’s clearly an occupational hazard.

“I normally watch the game back on a Saturday night, but I couldn’t face it. I watched it back yesterday instead and it wasn’t pretty against a very good Barnsley side.

“I am grateful though for having such a great chairman. He could have bashed me on Saturday night, but instead he spent 90 minutes on the phone lifting me up. He reminded me that only Portsmouth of the League One chairmen was happier than him right now.

“I will now be fielding a stronger side tomorrow than I did in the last Checkatrade game at MK Dons. Places are up for grabs for the League game at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

“We let the fans down on Saturday, but I’m confident of getting a big response at Scunthorpe.”

Maddison won’t be involved tomorrow. The injury that forced him off on Saturday is minor.

Central defender Josh Yorwerth might also miss out against Brighton. He has been ill and was due to report back for training today.