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Interviews

VALÉRIEN ISMAËL PRE-STOKE CITY

23 February 2021

The Head Coach gave his thoughts to the press ahead of Wednesday evening's visit of Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship.

The gaffer kicked off his pre-match press conference by speaking about the news today that Victor Adeboyejo has seen his contract extended at Oakwell.

One of the surprises of the season so far has been the young striker’s return to first team reckoning, but Ismaël believes Victor’s hard work has been rewarded. 

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“I think he deserves this because of his hard work, and his breakthrough this season.” Admitted the boss.

“He’s a young guy, he’s developing as a Championship player and is a good character in this group. 

“There is no more pressure on him, because he puts that onto himself. He knows what he needs to improve on, but he’s been a big part of this team for us.”

With the Reds in such good form, a lot of people are now suggesting targets should be reset.

But Valérien remains steadfast in his belief that concentration goes only into the next game in front of him and his squad whilst acknowledging that there are always extra steps to try and make for the players to keep on improving as the season develops. 

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With tomorrow night’s opponents also in good form of late, and sitting on the same points as Barnsley, the gaffer knows his side will need to be at their ruthless best when the Potters pitch up for the 7pm clash.

“The focus is only on the next game, and that is tomorrow night against a good Stoke City side. 

“They are another big team, another big club in this division with another top manager. 

“We have a good feeling, the team spirit is excellent and my players are hungry to make the next step. 

“We haven’t won four games in a row this season, so we want to keep moving on the table. But the desire has to be right and we must be clinical in our performance to get the result.”

Despite the high-energy football on show this term, the Frenchman reckons his squad are coping well, with only a couple of players still missing through injury. 

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The confidence is high too, naturally, after some positive results recently.

“Everyone is feeling good, they’re all alright.” Said Ismaël.

“Other than Ben Williams and Liam Kitching obviously, we have a fit squad ready for another big week of football. 

“Our purpose is to have options and to play with intensity and belief. The players’ quality is important too, but we must keep being unpleasant to play against. 

“I know the strengths of my players, I know how to get results. I don’t care what others say about my team.”


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