Barnsley boss has defiant message as Sunderland and Portsmouth seize the initiative in promotion race
Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel insists that the race for automatic promotion is far from over.
Stendel's side suffered their first defeat in 21 matches against Burton Albion on Saturday, following a 2-2 draw with Coventry City last weekend.
Cauley Woodrow gave Barnsley a glimmer of hope when he scored at the Pirelli Stadium to make it 2-1, but a goal from Marcus Harness settled the contest.
Sunderland's win at Rochdale means the two teams are now level on points, the Black Cats with two games in hand and a goal difference now just one inferior.
The result also opened the door for Portsmouth, now two points behind Barnsley with a game in hand.
"We won't give up," Stendel said.
"Never. There are 46 games in a season and we see where we finish in May. If we go up automatic or play the play-offs.
"We've been 11 points behind Portsmouth this season before. We've been seven behind Sunderland. It is not over. We accept it's not a good position now, but this is football and anything can happen.
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"I believe things will change for us this next week, I look forward to lifting heads up and creating the right atmosphere taking us into the Fleetwood game at Oakwell."
Stendel called on the club to remember how well they had played to get into this position after an inconsistent start to the campaign.
"We aren't in the best position now," he said.
"But we said in the changing room that we will never give up. Next week is another chance to win three points and we have to see where we end up.
"We've been unbeaten for so long. It's too easy for people to react and forget the run we've been on. And after this game, I'm hurting. The players are also.
"So much is invested into this, we are winners, but every week you have an opponent and on this day they played better than we did and deserved their victory."