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24 January 2021

Speaking after our impressive Emirates FA Cup fourth round victory over Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, Valérien Ismaël praised Barnsley’s performance – insisting it was a culmination of their endeavours over the past few weeks.

The Reds were outstanding from start to finish at Oakwell against a strong Canaries side that are seven points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship and had taken the spoils when the sides met three weeks ago in Norfolk.

“I think the result is a result of the hard work from the last weeks,” began Ismaël. “It started with the game in Norwich, Swansea and Watford and we were really close and I think we made the next step – we knew this before the game and the focus for us was just on the performance, to take the next game as serious as possible and to break through.

“I’m proud of the guys because of the commitment every game. The boys are ready and understand exactly what we need and believe more, and when you play such a game every three days it’s normal for us to perform at this level and it’s a good feeling to see the development of the guys at this level.”

Callum Styles’ solitary goal shortly after the interval was enough to see Barnsley safely through to the next round, which will be another home tie against either Chelsea or Luton Town.

It was no less than the Reds deserved after peppering the Norwich goal throughout the contest, coming close through Cauley Woodrow, Romal Palmer, Dominik Frieser, Victor Adeboyejo, Michał Helik and Conor Chaplin in a combative display.

“It was a brilliant performance, especially in the first half,” asserted Ismaël. “We kept Norwich contained in the last third, pressed very well and had a lot of possibilities to score. In the second half, it was the same in the beginning – I think we maybe have to kill the game earlier because the opponent is alive and stays in the game.

“This is a young team – they are hungry – and they can enjoy it because it was a breakthrough at this level and we have to stay this way with the same commitment, the same energy and the same performance in the next game.

“Now, we have to recover because it will be another game on Wednesday, another opponent and it will be a big fight.”

You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.

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