Speaking after our 2-2 draw with Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, Valérien Ismaël was full of praise for his players and staff following a remarkable campaign that has seen us reach the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.
Having survived by the skin of our teeth last season, we have excelled under the Frenchman since his arrival in October and become one of the most difficult teams in the division to cope with – as the champions found out at Oakwell.
“I’m really proud,” began Ismaël, “really grateful to be manager of the team because the guys showed why we are fifth in the table, why we deserve to be in the play-offs.
“They are dedicated to the way to play, to the principle, and it gives us a great feeling to finish like that. It’s an incredible feeling and incredible achievement for everyone.
“I just want to say thank you to the players and staff, the background staff. You saw Liam Kitching come back – it’s the reward from our physios, Sedge, Vikki and Sue, they made an incredible job with him and Friesy as well that they can come back on time.
“It’s a dedicated attitude from everyone to reach our purpose, to be better and to raise all the time the standards and it’s a massive complement for everyone – the club, our fans – to give such a season after last season and we are really proud to give the big belief back and hope back to our fans.”
Another positive this weekend was the full debut given to promising youngster Jasper Moon, who put in a magnificent performance in central midfield.
A defender by trade, the 20-year-old had featured as a substitute against Rotherham United back in December and, more recently, at Preston North End and he was given an opportunity to impress from the off for the visit of the Canaries.
“I think Jasper is the perfect example of what looks like our way,” continued our Head Coach. “We are ready to give a chance and everyone has to be patient, work hard every day and wait until your chance comes.
“When your chance comes, take it, and I think Jasper gave us in the past few weeks a very good feeling that he’s more ready to play and it was the case against Preston.
“He gave me an easy decision to take and that’s why it was the confirmation of his performance and attitude in the last week and he can be really proud of his development throughout the season.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.