GARY Rowett was delighted with the battling qualities shown by his Burton Albion side as they ground out a 1-0 win over Barnet.
The Brewers were under the cosh for long spells of Saturday’s clash at the Pirelli Stadium after Jacques Maghoma gave them an early lead from the penalty spot.
But they held on to take three points and climb a place to sixth in the table.
“At this point of the season, whether you’ve ground them out, played well or played poorly, it doesn’t really matter,” said the Albion boss.
“We’re getting into the business end and it’s about results, pure and simple.
“So we’re going to have to have an element of organisation and toughness about us to win games.
“We’re also going to have to have a little bit more quality to keep winning games.”
Although Barnet did not carve the Brewers open, a backline led by skipper Zander Diamond and new signing Ian Sharps had to work hard to record a clean sheet.
“We did have to hold on but there are times in games when you’ll have to defend,” said Rowett.
“It wasn’t by any means the best we’ve played all season.
“It was a very scrappy game and we just couldn’t retain the ball enough.
“But we defended, saw the game out and we’ve said before that Barnet always seem to get a result here.
“I’m just pleased that we’ve won the game, that’s all that matters to me really. I’d like to play better, of course, but we’ve won again at home.
“We’ve got to play better than that to get results but it’s the hallmark of a half-decent side if you keep grinding out results even if you’re not at your best.”
Rowett was pleased with Sharps’ debut as the 32-year-old showed all his quality and experience at the back.
The Brewers boss was also happy with the contribution of goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson after the 27-year-old’s return following a knee injury.
“Some people could’ve argued we’ve not done much wrong at home, so why change it, but I just felt that I wanted to get both of them in the side,” said Rowett.
“You can see what they both give us at times.
“Sharpsy just seems to be in the right place at the right time, has got experience and goes and wins headers.
“Tomo just gives us that bit of presence, so hopefully that might help us, particularly away from home as well.
“He does the little things. Like with a backpass he gets the ball 60 or 70 yards back up the pitch so you haven’t got to defend then for the next five or six minutes.
“He deals well with balls into his box. It wasn’t that type of game today where they’ve got that aerial presence and you need him to come and deal with things.
“The two coped fairly well in the air — it’s on the ground a team like Barnet will give you problems.”
Ricky Holmes, who scored a hat-trick to beat Burton 3-2 in December, was the outstanding player on the pitch and caused Albion problems with his running from the left flank.
“He’s a really good player,” said Rowett. “You’ve got to give Barnet credit. They beat Gillingham away and not many people would have had that down on the coupon, and Rotherham as well.
“We spoke to Sharpsy yesterday and he said at Rotherham they absolutely dominated the game and could’ve won by more.
“So again I’m pleased we’ve managed to keep them a little quieter. We want to do more in an attacking sense but there’s not many times you can say at home we haven’t attacked well.
“A game like today, one goal changed it and we’re glad we got that goal.
“They played with a lot of pace.
“I felt we over-committed forward in the first half and we didn’t need to do that.
“If we’d have kept our shape a little better and held our ground on the pitch then spaces further forward would have opened up.
“I also think second half we had one or two opportunites when we broke through and could have killed the game off.
“Again, they had a bit of the ball but didn’t have bags of chances, but it doesn’t hurt you unless they turn it into shots on goal.
Now, Rowett is targeting an improvement on the road — starting tomorrow night at Oxford United.
“Again, I’ve said before, if we win every one of our home games and lose all our away games we aren’t going to be far away,” said the Brewers boss.
“The problem comes when we aren’t able to maintain that. So, at some point we’ve got to have to pick our away form up.
“All we can do is concentrate on what we can do.
“Sometimes we go into these game and we want to play better — we’ve played really well on the whole at home - but it’s important when you don’t play well you get a result. And we did that today.”