After guiding Barnsley to a historic sixth consecutive second tier victory, Valérien Ismaël lauded his players for their incredible work ethic and commitment in what has been the most hectic and chaotic schedule in recent memory.
The Reds, riding the crest of a wave, travelled to Queens Park Rangers in fantastic spirits and confidently disposed of their hosts to secure a 3-1 win with another commanding performance.
“We have to say thank you to the guys,” asserted Ismaël. “They gave everything since I’ve been here in every game and now is the reward for our hard work, but we keep going, keep pushing. I think, now, we are in a good position but we need to recover.”
Having weathered an early storm from the hosts, Barnsley grew into the contest and took the lead when Daryl Dike flicked home Alex Mowatt’s delicious inswinging corner.
The skipper was on hand to fire the Reds back in front once more with a sumptuous free-kick moments after Charlie Austin had levelled arrears in a frantic six-minute spell midway through the first half.
But the game’s defining moment came shortly after the restart, when Ismaël made his famous triple substitution as Carlton Morris entered the fray alongside Victor Adeboyejo and Dominik Frieser.
Those fresh legs gave the Reds impetus and, once again, it was Mowatt who was instrumental as he played a magnificent ball into the path of Morris and our forward slotted casually between the legs of Seny Dieng to seal all three points.
“At that moment, we felt that our press situation wasn’t as clinical as we wanted,” insisted Ismaël. “QPR played well from the back and our reaction time was too slow, and it’s always a sign of tiredness and it’s our job on the sideline to make the change and recognise that.
“We made the change in the right moment to have the chance to score and it was enough to win the game. In the end, it was a really hard situation with QPR – they had two or three chances to score and you never know what will happen in the game.
“If they come back two minutes before the end with the long ball, everything can happen, that’s why you have to stay focused on your job. It was another new situation for us and we did it well.”
This victory in the capital sees Barnsley move onto 54 points, with only Sky Bet Championship leaders Norwich City in a similar vein of form during the last six outings.
However, Ismaël is eager to ensure that his side doesn’t get carried away and is maintaining his stance that the Reds continue to take each game as it comes as we enter the final furlong.
“You know that the Championship is a really tough league,” affirmed our Head Coach. “We are now in a fantastic run and our purpose, our desire, is to stay on this run because we know how difficult it is to stay on this run.
“Now we need to keep the momentum going, focus on the next game, one by one, and this is the best thing we have to do.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.