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Interviews

INTERVIEW | DANIEL NARDIELLO

6 June 2021

After seeing Barnsley enjoy a tremendous campaign, Daniel Nardiello praised the forwards at Valérien Ismaël’s disposal for their incredible efforts.

The Reds had numerous attacking options available to rotate, with each player making their own magnificent contribution and our former striker was delighted with their performances.

“The manager brought in some good signings and the lads who were already there did very well, too,” began Nardiello. “They all made the most of their time on the pitch and, with any good team, you need three or four decent strikers, which Barnsley have.

“They all played their part during the season – so did the whole team, really; there were goals from all over the team at different stages of the season. It was a good season for everyone.

“As a striker, it can be quite frustrating at times not getting the ball when you want it with no build up play but this manager was getting the ball forward quickly, which in turn created a lot of chances and attacking play.

Daniel Nardiello celebrates a goal for the Reds 

“I’ve played under a lot of managers who weren’t as aggressive attacking as that, so I think it would be a dream for attacking players to play.”

The arrival of Ismaël in October is what really kickstarted our season as he began his tenure with four wins from five – including four clean sheets – to help lift us to mid-table.

However, the run of form towards the end of the campaign proved to be crucial and Nardiello lauded our Head Coach for the impact he had at Oakwell.

“It all stems from the management,” he asserted. “A lot of the times, it can be a big boost for the players and he certainly did that. The momentum got stronger and stronger, the team got more wins and he built into that team spirit and had a style of play he wanted to stick to and didn’t stray from that style of play. 

“From what I heard, he gave the players a lot of compliments one on one, so when he was speaking to them individually, I think it was a massive plus.

Valérien Ismaël celebrates an important win at Brentford 

“Even though he’s only been at Barnsley for a short time, he’s done fantastically well and instilled that team spirit and I know a lot of the lads really enjoy playing for him.”

Having narrowly avoided relegation the previous campaign, many tipped Barnsley to be struggling once more this time around. But we proved the doubters wrong and enjoyed a wonderful season.

Victories over Brentford and Bournemouth were particular highlights, while a first win against Sheffield Wednesday for 11 years will live long in the memory for supporters.

“The season was fantastic,” asserted Nardiello. “Obviously, it didn’t come to the best of endings – it was always going to be tough – but I thought in terms of what Barnsley achieved over the season was phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.

“To get to the play-offs with the budget that Barnsley have got, it was just a phenomenal season. I think the team, the management, the staff and the fans have got a lot to be proud of with how the team performed this season.”

The Reds celebrate going in front at Rotherham United 

With the new campaign just a couple of months away, there will naturally be high hopes for what Barnsley can accomplish if they maintain a similar consistency to this season.

Nardiello believes it is important for the club to continue progressing and another top six finish should be the target having come so close.

“It’s going to be tough to achieve what was achieved this season but I think that’s got to be the goal,” said the 38-year-old. “They’ve got to aim to be as close to the play-offs as possible and I think it’ll be tough, but they’ve proven it this season so who knows what can happen?

“Realistically, I think if Barnsley have a mid-table finish, I think that’s a successful season but, like I say, they’ve got to try and aim for that top six because that’s what they did this season.

“But, if they can get a mid-table finish, that will be successful simply because of the budget of other teams.”


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