Gaffer says he has responsibility to fans to be honest and looks forward to Tykes clash.Darren Ferguson said that he would go “the extra mile” for his players following his comments in the aftermath of a narrow defeat to Sheffield United.
Ferguson labelled the 1-0 loss “boring” but, when asked to reflect, stuck to his guns.
“I’ve not changed my mind,” he said.
“I think they're fully aware that I’ve got a responsibility not just to the players but to the club as the manager and, in particular, to the fans and I wasn’t going to try mugging anyone off on that one – no way – because everyone saw it for themselves.
“The players understand the standards that I expect and they understand the standards that they expect of each other and they weren’t met on Saturday for whatever reason.
“Regardless of that reason, we just don’t want a repeat of it – I’m hoping it’s the last time I have to do that, be critical after a game.
“I do think it’s the first time I’ve been critical of my players in that sense after a game and I think I can count on my hand how many times I’ve done that during my career.
“I would have to say that I’m a very protective manager to my players but once they get to that level where I think its hard to defend then I’ve also got a responsibility to the fans and they're not stupid people, they’re intelligent enough to see what they were seeing.
“I couldn’t defend them on it and the players knew that but in terms of protecting my players, they wont get a more protective manager than myself – the players know that – and I’ll go the extra mile for them but they’ve got to give it back to me.
Ahead of a highly anticipated local derby at Oakwell against Barnsley, Ferguson was handed a welcome boost to his midfield options with the returns of Conor Grant and James Coppinger.
“They’ve both trained today,” said the Scot.
“Conor has trained all week so you have to say that they're both in the mix and fit.
“They bring that quality – James brings experience to the squad and knows what its all about, these sort of situations – and Conor I think everyone has seen what he’s done since he’s been here and we’ve certainly missed him.
“I think it’s a good one for us. In the sense that we’ll have a lot of fans and we have to stand up and get a performance that I know we’re capable of us.”