Following our hard-fought 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening, Valérien Ismaël praised the impact of his substitutes, claiming they changed the game in the second half.
Our Head Coach utilised every change at his disposal against the visitors from Lancashire, with the triple change 10 minutes after the interval proving to be decisive as a fresh front three breathed new life into our attack.
“We need to keep the momentum going and congratulations to the guys for the performance,” declared Ismaël. “It was a tough game; we recognised that Blackburn changed their strategy – it was another game plan with direct play with the run in behind from Armstrong.
“I think we controlled a lot of situations, especially in the second half and we scored in the right moment. I told the guys at half-time the bench will win the game and this is exactly what happened.
“The five guys – Jordan Williams, Herbie Kane, the front three; Dike, Friesy, Carlton were brilliant. Now we have more possibilities to make some rotation to keep the guys fresh and you see it’s a game changer for us to have the possibility to make a change when one player is tired or if we think we have to do something. Now we have the possibility to change the game.”
One of those substitutes, Carlton Morris, broke the deadlock with 18 minutes remaining before Alex Mowatt burst clear following a well-worked move to seal all three points prior to Adam Armstrong’s late consolation.
There was always a sense that the goal was coming given how the Reds’ unrelenting pressing and probing continued to force Rovers towards their own goal, and Ismaël was delighted with the way his side went about their business.
“Sometimes you have to be patient, to wait for the right moment and the right time,” continued our Head Coach. “At the end of the game, there was a tiredness for Blackburn because you see the pace we play and high intensity.
“We had the intensity over 90 minutes and that’s why we had to stay patient and score at the right moment. If I could criticise anything it would be after 1-0, we had a lot of possibilities to score earlier and we were too sloppy with the last pass.
“Finally, Alex made the goal and it was, at that moment, very important for us. I think the goal we conceded was very unnecessary, two minutes before the end of the game you have to clear the ball and manage the time much better.
“In the end, we got the three points that we wanted. We keep moving up the table and it’s a great feeling now, but we need eight points to reach the 50 point line and we need to recover for our next important game on Saturday against Bristol City.”
You can watch Valérien's post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.