Andy Dawson praised the performance as United drew 2-2 at home to Barnsley on Saturday.
Josh Morris converted from the penalty spot for United in the first half before Cameron Burgess headed into the net to double the advantage early in the second period. However, the high-flying away side hit back with two goals in quick succession to level the scoreline and a share of the spoils at Glanford Park.
Dawson, who took charge of the team following Nick Daws' departure, told iFollow Iron: “The lads hit it head on, believed in themselves and I’m really pleased with them. I felt in the first 60 minutes we were absolutely excellent. We pressed and were aggressive both in and out of possession. We looked like scoring and were strong as a group.
“Them getting back to 2-2 was difficult, especially with what the lads have been through over the last week. What happened at Sunderland and against Fleetwood will have been in their memories, but they had to fight through it, be resilient and strong. They stuck together to a man to keep us in the game.
“In the end, we ground through it and Lundy (Matthew Lund) had a great opportunity to nick it. We’re pleased overall. If the lads go out, give 110 per cent and get sweat on their shirts that’s all you can ask for.
“There were loads of positives and the pleasing thing is the lads will understand they’re ‘back’ in this league, and ‘back’ in the hunt to keep progressing themselves and be better.”
Indeed, United were the first team to score against the Tykes in the league all season.
Dawson added: “You have to fight and scrap for everything you get in this league. To come out against a really good Barnsley team, who will be up there this year, our players were fantastic. They’re high energy, press high and are very good in possession. You can see why teams struggle to score against them. That’s credit to our lads though because we cut them open at times, stretched and played through them. All in all, it’s a good day’s work.”
Dawson was also pleased to see Morris and Burgess get off the mark with their first goals of the season.
He said: “It was nice to see them both score. You always fancy Josh with a penalty, he showed courage and determination in front of their 2,200 fans. We expect Cam to probably score more of those and the delivery from George Thomas was excellent. When we do get Cam in those areas, he’s a big lad and we’ll keep demanding that he gets on the end of those.”
A downside to the afternoon was goalkeeper Rory Watson having to come off injured following an excellent double save late on in the game.
Dawson added: “It’s a real shame for Rory. He’s gone to hospital and it doesn’t look too good. Myself, the staff and the players wish him all the best. He’s a young player learning the game and will be a massive part of this club for the next few years, so we wish him a quick recovery. He kept us in the game with that save, and credit to him because he was a big part of the performance today.”
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