Speaking after our 1-0 victory over Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon, Valérien Ismaël heaped praise on his side for their battling performance against a physical visiting team.
Having won seven consecutive games, the Reds are now up to sixth in the Sky Bet Championship table and have shown they are able to compete against whatever obstacles are thrown at them.
“Congratulations for an unbelievable performance from the guys,” lauded Ismaël. “The commitment, all the time, all ready to invest all the time 100% from the first minute to the last minute. All the squad, not only the 11 players. The great thing is, we can adapt now all the ways to play football.
“You can see this, Birmingham came here and it was all about, for them, to fight for the second ball, to gamble on the set-pieces and throw-ins to put the ball in the box and you have to stay strong to wait until the opponent is tired until you get your chance.”
It is now nine games unbeaten in the league for Barnsley, who are finding form at the right time and proving to be a tough nut to crack with a fifth clean sheet in eight outings.
The defensive solidity is particularly pleasing for Ismaël, who highlighted his squad’s incredible morale that has seen them the Reds go from relegation favourites to the top six.
“We are very strong at the moment; the guys have a lot of confidence,” continued our Head Coach. “The togetherness is unbelievable, the team spirit is brilliant and I think, for the guys, it’s all the reward.
“Every game is a fight – I can’t remember an easy game; it’s hard work and that’s why we deserve to be where we are. We deserve our win because we believe in our strength, we believe in our way to play football and now we are getting the results.”
In a game of very few chances and little in the way of real quality, it was always likely to take a moment of magic to settle a gritty contest.
Cue Daryl Dike to fire home an unbelievable winner four minutes after the interval as he latched onto Carlton Morris’ through ball before rifling into the top corner from an acute angle.
“In training, we saw some shots from him and we were really impressed,” smiled Ismaël. “We thought if he hits the ball like that, it will be a disaster for the opponent ‘keeper and it’s exactly what happened. We knew he had a lot of power in his shot, but what a brilliant goal.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.