Having surpassed his primary 50-point target with our 2-1 victory over Millwall on Saturday afternoon, Valérien Ismaël heaped praise on his squad for their efforts so far this term.
With 14 Sky Bet Championship games remaining, Barnsley have already accumulated more points than the entire 19/20 season and put any potential fears of relegation well and truly behind them by climbing to seventh in the table.
“It’s a great feeling – everyone knows how tough the Championship is,” began Ismaël. “To have 51 points at this stage of the season is a brilliant performance, but it’s a hard work ethic from the guys and I congratulate the guys for that performance.”
In a keenly fought encounter at Oakwell, the Reds took an early lead when Cauley Woodrow notched his 12th goal of another fine campaign as he showed his clinical poacher’s instinct inside the opening two minutes.
The Lions were level shortly after through Mason Bennett, but Michał Helik fired home a second half winner to seal all three points.
“It’s important to stay focused on our game plan,” continued Ismaël. “It was a tough game against Millwall and it was a fight ‘til the end. We adapted well and I think it’s good to see how the guys developed their own performance and adapt to the Championship now.
“We didn’t concede a lot of shots on our goals. We defended very well – especially in the second half; we were really dominant. We dominated a lot of situations with pressure and, when we scored, it was a great feeling for the guys to take the battle and to fight.”
The most pleasing aspect for Ismaël is the way his side has developed over the course of a gruelling season, with very little time in between games to focus on training and match preparation.
But the Reds have excelled and play a relentless brand of football, and have found different ways of scoring – as demonstrated against Millwall.
“We can compete against a lot of teams and adapt at that level as well to take the fight, be ruthless in the duels and put the chance on the set-pieces,” insisted our Head Coach. “We are dangerous in many areas now and this is what we need for the rest of the season.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.