MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray says tightening up at the back is his top priority.
Boro were 3-0 down by half-time at Oakwell.
The Tykes were cruising following an opening goal from Paddy McCourt and two from Chris O’Grady.
Ex-Celtic winger McCourt netted with a fine solo effort – though the lack of a decent tackle as he weaved through the Boro defence will have annoyed Mowbray – before Barnsley doubled their lead five minutes before the break when substitute Jim O’Brien’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected past goalkeeper Jason Steele by O’Grady.
In Barnsley’s next attack, striker Marcus Pedersen was tripped by central defender Ben Gibson. Referee Oliver Langford pointed to the spot and O’Grady made no mistake.
Eight minutes from the end, Boro managed to pull a goal back when Albert Adomah fired in from 15 yards. Two minutes later, he scored his second with a low header from four yards out but it proved too little, too late.
Mowbray said: “It was 3-0, but we should have scored some goals in that half. We had a couple of chances but we didn’t take them.
“I’ve been showing them (the players) clips all week of the skill that McCourt has and they him go through.
“The second goal was a long-range shot that took a deflection.
“Things just don’t go for us, and you wonder why we can’t get one like that.
“The penalty was a rash decision from a young player.
“At half-time, we needed to get some pride in the second half. We came out and took a couple of chances.
“I can’t remember our keeper making a save. But (Lukas) Jutkiewicz hit the bar with only their keeper to beat.
“We have scored enough goals to be higher in the table but I have to solve the problem of goals going in.”
Barnsley: Butland, Wiseman, Cranie, Mvoto, Kennedy, Mellis (Cywka 65), Fox, Perkins, McCourt (O’Brien 29), Pedersen (Scotland 75), O’Grady. Subs not used: Hassell, Dawson, Jennings, Etuhu. Goals: McCourt 26, O’Grady 41, 43 pen.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Richardson, Hines, Gibson, Friend, Butterfield (Emnes 46), Leadbitter, Whitehead (Smallwood 46), Adomah, Kamara, Jutkiewicz (Carayol 67). Subs not used: Rhys Williams, Varga, Konstantopoulos, Parnaby. Goals: Adomah 82, 84.
Att: 11,438. Ref: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).