Our new Head Coach met the press for the first time ahead of his dugout debut tonight and called this a 'special' time as embarks upon his new journey with the Reds.
“It’s something special.”
Appointed at the Club last Friday before flying in on Saturday to watch the Reds take on Millwall in the capital, before two days working on the training ground - safe to say, it's been a busy week for the new man in charge at Oakwell.
Valérien says the opportunity was one he had to take and explained to us the reasons why it was such an easy decision to leave Germany for South Yorkshire.
“For a French guy, whether as a player or a coach, we are always interested in English football. This is the source of football, its home, and the spirit and atmosphere here is very unique.
“I received this opportunity and there were two reasons why I came here - the philosophy of the club; the style of football in Barnsley is how I want to play football. And then secondly, to come back to England and coach is a very big opportunity and one that I am excited to begin.”
The former Bayern Munich central defender admits there will only be slight alterations to the way the Reds play their football.
Known for their high-intensity football over the last few years, that won't change under the new man, because it's the kind of football he wants to play too, and a driving factor in his decision to move to the UK.
“I believe in this way of football – high-pressing, intensity, a vertical game.” Valérien explained.
“It is a tough way to play football and I want the mentality of the players to be 'we are not happy with a draw, we never accept losing a game and we fight until the last minute with our philosophy.’
“The two big topics are out of possession and in position. I need to see a game to see how we close the gap to where I want to go.
“But there will be small changes in how we look and how we approach our game.”
Ismaël has worked in Germany, Austria and Greece already in his coaching career, but is no stranger to these shores after his spell as a player at Crystal Palace back in the 90's.
He represented the Eagles in the same year that Barnsley played top flight football.
The Head Coach says he's been pleased with the welcome from Reds fans across social media.
"I am thankful to the fans for the welcome over social media. I’m very happy to be at Oakwell.
“It was a great feeling for me, the reaction upon my arrival. My first impression of the club is very good and positive. There is a very good spirit and focus with everybody.
"From the first touch I had with Dane Murphy, we spoke only about the way to play football and I had the feeling that Barnsley has the same philosophy as me.
"It is a very good atmosphere here and everybody is very professional. They are open to the change and to have a new mindset. The basis is very good and now we make the next step.”
His first clash sees him against the R's this evening, a side the Reds did the double over last season.
Valérien believes an early victory will give his new charges a confidence boost as he looks to shape the squad in his image.
"We hope for a win against QPR.” He stated, firmly.
“It is always good when you start with a win. But the second thing is to make a step in the right way.
“We have trained with some new skills and I want to see this in the game. I want to see a big mentality and it will be good if we win early to get more confidence."