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11 March 2021

Following our 0-0 draw with Derby County on Wednesday evening, Valérien Ismaël says he is satisfied with another point on the board as the Reds extended their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to ten games.

Both sides had a handful of opportunities to win a largely unforgettable encounter at Oakwell, but a cutting edge was lacking in the final third as the spoils were shared.

“I think it’s a good point,” insisted Ismaël. “You have to take the point and the clean sheet, and you can win the game at the beginning of the second half or you can lose the game at the end, but it was a great save.

“That’s why we have to take the point, another clean sheet and we keep moving. It’s a little step, but you never know what happens with one point and it could be a good situation.”

As our Head Coach alludes to, it is now six clean sheets in nine outings for Barnsley who, having gone on a run of 14 league games without one, are now one of the division’s toughest defences to break down.

While the entire team plays its part, crucial to this success has been Brad Collins, who was excellent against the Rams and pulled off a fine save to deny Lee Gregory when clean through on goal.

“It shows that all the guys are very concentrated and focused on the situation and everyone can contribute to the success of the team,” continued Ismaël.

“I think Brad was brilliant in two situations and that’s why it’s important to see that even at 0-0 at home against Derby, you have to deal with it and it’s a great feeling to see that all the guys are concerned.”

This was the Reds’ ninth game in 28 days – a fixture list that stretches back to our Emirates FA Cup fifth round clash with Chelsea.

The gruelling and hectic timetable is energy sapping and tough on the legs, and Ismaël believes that a bit of tiredness might have crept in against Derby, although he praised his side for continuing to fight until the end.

“I think the fatigue was there,” admitted the Frenchman. “The concentration in some situations was not so clinical, but we don’t want to complain – we knew the schedule, we have to accept it and it’s important to take the point. 

“It continues to give the guys confidence, even when you are tired and the opponent plays completely different. You stay strong, you keep a clean sheet and continue to stay forward.”

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

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