Ahead of our next Sky Bet Championship fixture - a short trip to West Yorkshire to face the Terriers - Valérien Ismaël spoke with the assembled media to help preview the clash.
Whilst the gaffer was scheduled to discuss Wednesday night’s Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium, he began by offering his own thoughts on the breaking news over the last 48 hours regards the proposed formation of a European Super League.
Ismaël, as you might expect, was disgusted with the idea.
“I was surprised and shocked.” Our Head Coach explained.
“Especially as it looks like a pure business position, without anything to do with the staff or the players. Yet they’re facing the media, under pressure when they’re not involved. This is unfair.
“To take a decision in a period like this, with the pandemic, it is even worse and I am totally against this so-called Super League.
“The history of football, the emotional connection, the stories we all have - that is football, and for all supporters. It is about the dream.
“This Super League idea is artificial. It is closed, it is not football to me. It is not reality. This is a selfish mentality and all about money and no competition at all.”
Back to the actual football and the Reds are this week having to respond to a very rare defeat, following Sunday’s loss to Coventry City.
The boss admits that the start to that game at St. Andrew’s wasn’t good enough and believes it’s a reminder to his players that the intensity has to be there from the first whistle.
“The last two games, against Middlesbrough and Coventry, in the first halves were very sloppy. This isn’t what we expect from Barnsley. This isn’t enough from us. We must start hard and start fast, because if not you allow the opponent into the game.
“We know if we are on our game from the start, when we put our mentality and philosophy onto the opponent, we can beat any team in the Championship.
“I demand a performance, an energy from the first minute until the last.”
With just a couple of weeks remaining of what has been a stellar campaign for all connected to Barnsley FC, the Frenchman knows that the games won’t be getting any easier.
But Valérien called the last performance a warning, reiterating the point that if his players show the right mentality, then their display will take care of itself, heading into Wednesday night against the struggling Terriers.
He said: “Four games are now left, and it’s about getting over the line. But it’s back to our performance. That is where our focus is going into the game on Wednesday night. The performance will then get the required result.
“Huddersfield are a strong side, as are all teams in the Championship.
“They’ve created a big gap now and we know that it will be a derby game and another big challenge ahead of us.
“They usually play from the back, but we know most clubs go long against us now, so we have different gameplans should that occur. It’s about our performance as I keep saying, the rest will follow.”