Heading into our Sky Bet Championship clash with Bournemouth this weekend, Valérien Ismaël says the Reds are looking forward to the challenge of facing one of the division’s best passing teams.
The Cherries register third in the possession rankings this term, behind league leaders Norwich City and Huddersfield Town, and have caught the eye with their swift attacking football.
“The quality from Bournemouth is so high that they have a lot of possibility to dominate the opponent in possession, that’s why they’re a very strong side,” began Ismaël.
“This season, they are one of the best teams in possession along with Norwich and the expectation is that they will play their way. We will be focused to press, like we did against Chelsea and Brentford, and that’s why we are focused.”
Barnsley travel to the south coast sitting one place and two points above their hosts having embarked on a ten-game unbeaten run that started at the tail-end of January.
A return of 24 points from those outings has propelled the Reds into sixth place, leapfrogging Bournemouth in the process, who are plotting an immediate return to the Premier League.
“We have to prepare and it will be a very difficult game; we are looking forward to the game and we will be ready but we know Bournemouth has big pressure on this game,” insisted Ismaël.
“It’s a very important game for them and that’s why we have to be aware from the first minute. Bournemouth had one week to prepare the game and they’re more fresh. We will have a lot of issues to control in the game before we think about winning; we need to show the guys the way how to win the game. The game plan has to be clinical for tomorrow.”
When the two sides went head-to-head at Oakwell earlier this season, the Cherries ran out 4-0 winners and surged to the top of the table.
Since then, however, the Reds have picked up 15 more points than Bournemouth, who have suffered somewhat of a blip in 2021 that has seen them drop down to seventh place.
“It’s a new game, a new challenge, and we are for sure another team, another mindset, another conviction and the confidence is on our side,” asserted Ismaël. “We want to keep the momentum going and we know it will be a tough game but we are prepared.
“We have shown in previous games that we can compete at this level and this is our motivation. We go there to perform another great game and we have the purpose to get the next point.”
You can watch Valérien’s press conference on iFollow Barnsley.