Joey Barton’s honest assessment after Bristol Rovers’ heavy defeat to Barnsley

No Bristol Rovers player was able to chance what was a damp and difficult night at Barnsley. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)No Bristol Rovers player was able to chance what was a damp and difficult night at Barnsley. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
No Bristol Rovers player was able to chance what was a damp and difficult night at Barnsley. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) | Getty Images
There were no complaints about the result from the Gas boss who said it was a poor performance across the board

Joey Barton says the majority of his Bristol Rovers players played below par in their 3-0 defeat to Barnsley.

Despite attempting seven shots, the Gas failed to register a shot on target in what was a quiet night for an untroubled Brad Collins.

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Meanwhile, Rovers’ sturdy defence was breached on three occasions, twice inside the opening 15 minutes which made for an uphill battle.

Devante Cole opened the scoring with a fortunate strike before Jordan Williams’ heavily deflected strike flat-footed James Belshaw.

Josh Benson then compounded the misery ten minutes into the second half with a goal that came from a defensive error.

Even in defeats, there are usually positives to take from the game but across the board, there weren’t any standout displays from any of Rovers’ players.

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Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol in his post-match interview, he said: “Everything that could go wrong tonight seemed to go wrong. We were second best everywhere in every department and that is very rare for our boys.

“There are usually two or three of them who will dig something out and force a performance but we were really poor.

“The lads know in there, they don’t need me to say it. They know that we have been second best in every single department today. We haven’t created enough and even those moments we did create with Azza’s chance and John Marquis chance, we haven’t really tested the keeper.

“It’s rare for the lads, they don’t usually have an off day like that right across the board.

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“Absolutely every single player will look at this game and think we could be better.”

In what was a night where positives were hard to come by, it was long-term thinking that was at the mind of the Rovers boss.

Jordan Rossiter, who returned last week ahead of schedule from an injury, played a half, as did new signing Lewis Gibson.

Rovers were also able to escape any further damage with senior players like Paul Coutts and Sam Finley escaping a red card after a passioned but frustrating display.

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Asked about the positives from an otherwise frustrating evening, Barton replied: “People getting minutes, Jordy Rossiter getting forty-five, Gibbo getting forty-five puts him in contention for Saturday.

“Nobody getting second-half, we had a tricky pitch and a few lads were on yellow cards. That was in the back of my thinking when taking Couttsy (Paul) and Sam Finley off, we lost the battle today but there’s a war of 46 games in this league.

“It’s three points dropped and lost but we’ve made a good fist at the start. We could have been better for sure but we have to dust ourselves quickly and get ready for scrap on Saturday.”

With the summer transfer window remaining open, it acted as a reminder for players that may still be playing for their long-term futures.

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There is a desire to bring in up to six players which will provide healthy competition for an otherwise thin squad which is in need of reinforcements.

He said: “The squad is coming and we have a bit of work to do in the market. We’ve shown in certain positions that we need to strengthen up.

“Some of the lads starting today need to cut out games like tonight. At this level you can’t get away with being that off colour.

“It’s not one or two it is seven or eight, if that happens you can’t take points from places like Barnsley.”

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