Valérien Ismaël spoke with the assembled press this afternoon ahead of tomorrow night's clash with Rotherham United.
Our Head Coach was speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s short trip down the M1 to face the Millers, having seen his side win four of their last five games.
He again referred to the first game of the month, where the Reds came from a goal down at St. Andrew’s, something they’ve repeated three times since, including on Boxing Day, as he believes that was the ‘turning point’ for his young side which has seen Barnsley shoot up the table.
He told us: “The change, the turning point was the game at Birmingham, as I’ve said before, and this has given us a real strength and belief as a team that we can always fight for the result.
“I’m proud of the guys for their performances.
“In normal play too, we stand well, we press well, don’t concede goals. But we are conceding our goals from set-pieces. This is something we must continue to work on. And we will get there.”
There had been doubts about the game at the New York Stadium going ahead after the recent positive COVID-19 cases in the Rotherham United squad. But the boss says he and his staff and players can’t concentrate on external factors and were well-prepared for Tuesday night and the latest challenge.
“We are fully focused on the game.” Valérien explained.
“I heard the news like everyone else last week, but we will play tomorrow as far as we are concerned, we’ve been told no different.
“It is not my problem what is happening at Rotherham. I have sympathy and it’s a sensitive issue but their preparation and the impact on tomorrow’s game isn’t something I focus on, I am the coach of Barnsley.”
The old mantra of taking each game as it comes is something that Ismaël is really big on.
Whilst fans and pundits alike will try and dissect the games and look at the fortunes of a club over a certain timeframe, for Valérien it is all about the next game, and then the next game. Focus on what is directly in front of you.
“This is our mindset, we take every game one-by-one.” The boss remarked.
“It’s Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. It is constant football and we are prepared for this, we are ready and are getting results.
“Rotherham will be another big test. I’m not looking beyond that. It’s a tough schedule.
With just a week or so until the January transfer window opens, there is obviously much rumour and conjecture regards the likelihood of incomings and outgoings at Oakwell.
Ismaël admits that work is going on behind-the-scenes and says that he hopes the future of players in and out can be sorted as early as possible.
“Our purpose in the window is to have new players early in January. There will be some players also, for sure, who move out the other way, because they need to improve their own situation.
“We will be looking for solutions in the coming weeks.
“There are players of interest on our list, many players and hopefully when someone is ready to sign and to announce, we will do so. But for now, whilst the feeling is good on this topic, we have to show a little more patience and focus on the game tomorrow night.”