Neil Warnock reacts as Middlesbrough pile more misery on Barnsley and close gap to Championship play-offs
Boro claimed maximum points for the second home game inside five days to climb up to 10th with a 2-0 win over the Tykes.
Slovenian Andraz Sporar headed the home side ahead in the 20th minute with his second goal since arriving on loan from Sporting Lisbon.
With three minutes remaining, Matt Crooks headed in a crucial second to seal the points.
Middlesbrough should have scored the second earlier when Duncan Watmore somehow missed a glorious chance from six yards after Sporar had picked him out in front of an empty net.
But the Teessiders still claimed a third win from the last four games to reignite hopes of climbing into the Sky Bet Championship’s top six.
Warnock said: “It helps how we are feeling but it doesn’t take anything away from how I look back at a few games and ask how we don’t have nine or 10 points more than we have.
“The players played like they enjoyed it. You don’t want it to fade away because we are better than that.
“The chances we missed…we were not clinical enough in that area. But all credit to the lads.
“The dressing room has been really good. You have to work hard and we played some good stuff, some great chances and crosses.
“I was a little apprehensive first five minutes but after that I thought we were on the front foot. They put me through the mill.
“Duncan did slip for his chance in fairness. But he has worked his socks off, I have nothing but praise.
“We won the game and that is the main thing, so Duncan’s miss wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”
Barnsley boss Markus Schopp’s concerns increased after a fifth straight defeat increased their winless run to 11 league matches.
Schopp was left frustrated, particularly because his side’s attacking play created plenty of chances but they wasted them.
Striker Cauley Woodrow and Clarke Oduor could have put Barnsley in front before Sporar’s opener.
Austrian Schopp, who has won just one of his 14 matches in charge, said: “We started well. Big chances at the beginning. A team in a situation like we are in now, we have to benefit from situations like that.
“When we conceded the goal we didn’t have the organisation we wanted. We struggled after the goal. We came out in the second half better.
“We had a few chances where we didn’t finish high up the pitch. A team like Boro, they have the quality to counter where they can hurt you. Two set pieces were the difference.
“We are in a situation, a tough situation. We will try a lot but we don’t score and when you don’t score you have to run after situations like today when we conceded the first goal.
“It is a really hard situation. I know how we solve certain problems. A couple of young players are making awesome development. It is tough for them to get so many minutes, but this is what I see, what I think. Barnsley will benefit from this.”