Ferguson pinpoints smart start as crucial after Posh seal play-offs
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson praised his side’s first-half performance as they clinched the final Sky Bet League One play-off place with a 2-0 win at fourth-placed Barnsley.
Top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris opened the scoring in the sixth minute, with Jack Taylor doubling the lead in the second half.
Peterborough will face Sheffield Wednesday – who beat Posh’s rivals Derby – in the play-off semi-finals, with Barnsley facing Bolton.
Ferguson said: “We got the result we needed and got a favour off Sheffield Wednesday, so it went exactly to plan.
“I thought we started the game ever so well, I’ve spoken all week about getting an early goal and making Derby nervous.
On his side’s second goal, Ferguson said: “The second goal was pivotal, obviously I’m aware Derby are losing I had to stick or twist to try and get a third.
“But in the end it didn’t matter because we managed to get the win.”
Wednesday led Derby at half-time and, asked whether that scoreline impacted his half-time team talk, Ferguson continued: “The main focus was on how we performed and making sure we did our bit.
“I did tell them Derby were getting beaten and were down to 10 men, I had to tell them because I didn’t want to be wasting an opportunity that was in front of us.”
Ferguson was asked whether past experience will help with the play-off games and responded: “It could do, I’m used to it. I enjoy these types of games and this time of the season, it’s very rare I don’t have much to play for whether it be promotion or relegation.”
Barnsley head coach Michael Duff said: “(I’m) a little bit frustrated, to be honest, we’ve been done by a set-play.
“It’s tough to replicate the intensity and concentration that’s needed to play in these types of games.
“Credit to Peterborough, they’re a good team. I’m frustrated about when the second goal came in, I think we went flat after that and never really looked like getting back into the game.
“The last two weeks have been tough, but we’ve had a brilliant season and now we need to tune in again.
Barry Cotter caught the eye for the hosts and Duff said: “He was one of the big ones today, I thought he was excellent.
“He’s got loads of physical attributes, sometimes he needs to simplify his game but I think we can coach him.
Captain Mads Andersen continues to be sidelined and Duff admitted: “It’s a concern, he’s still not training with the group.
“Hopefully he’ll be fine but our promotion hopes don’t depend on Mads Andersen.
Looking ahead to the upcoming double-header against Bolton, Duff added: “Tough games, but who are you going to pick that isn’t a tough game?
“The last couple of weeks have been tough but we can focus in now.”