Speaking after our 2-2 draw with Cardiff City on Wednesday evening, Valérien Ismaël praised the progress that his team have made since our last meeting with the Bluebirds.
Barnsley were thumped 3-0 in South Wales at the start of November and our Head Coach believes his side are more capable at coping with the physical demands of the Sky Bet Championship.
“When you see the performance against Cardiff a few months ago; we deserved to lose – it was only one-way football,” he began. “You can see three months later that we can compete against Cardiff. We controlled a lot of situations; we controlled the game, we scored goals and it was perfect play from the guys.
“I’m very delighted about the development of the guys and how we perform at the moment against very strong opponents.
“The Championship is a tough league but now we have a good feeling that we can compete at all the levels in the league if you need to press, if you need to fight, if you need to fight for the second ball. We did this and that’s why I think we’re on the right way.”
Mads Andersen bagged his first competitive goal for the club as he powered home Dominik Frieser’s delightful right-wing cross, while Cauley Woodrow flung himself at an Alex Mowatt set-piece to take his tally to 11 in all competitions this season.
Despite letting that two-goal lead slip, Ismaël remained in good spirits and paid tribute to the duo in his post-match interview.
“Mads was very close many times to scoring and, tonight, he finally found the way to score,” continued the Frenchman. “I’m delighted that we can score from everywhere on the pitch – not just our strikers.
“I’m also delighted for Cauley to score like that because it was a tough game for him with some unfair situations against him. But he kept going and rewarded himself with a goal.”
At the other end of the pitch, after a string of impressive Emirates FA Cup displays in recent weeks, Brad Collins was handed his first league appearance since the start of October.
The Reds’ stopper put in another assured performance on a challenging evening at Oakwell and there was little he could do as the visitors snatched a point.
“We have a young team and one of my tasks is to improve the young guys and give the chance to play because if we want to judge the players, we have to see them and the feeling was there that it may be the right moment for Brad to get his chance,” asserted Ismaël.
“I think he played well since he’s been in goal against Tranmere Rovers, Norwich and tonight, so we have two very strong ‘keepers in this position.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.