Speaking after our Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final exit at the hands of Swansea City, Valérien Ismaël expressed his pride at a magnificent season from the Reds.
Having nearly been relegated 10 months ago, Barnsley accumulated a staggering 78 points to finish fifth and were narrowly edged out over two legs, eventually suffering a 2-1 aggregate defeat.
Individual magic from André Ayew at Oakwell and Matt Grimes in South Wales proved to be the difference and, despite our dominance, we were unable to make that last push to set-up a final date at Wembley with Brentford on Saturday.
“I’m really proud of the team,” lauded Ismaël. “For sure, we are disappointed but I think we can be proud. Congratulations to Swansea; I think they deserve it – they were really, really clinical. Their first shot on target went in in the first leg and second leg, and it was enough to win.
“I think we did our job; we scored a goal away and we kept our dream alive all the game until the end but it was not enough.
“We are really proud of the season. It was an amazing, outstanding journey what we reached so far and we are disappointed but, tomorrow, heads up and we can reflect on what we reached.”
The Reds continued to fight up until the final whistle and made for an interesting finale when Cauley Woodrow fired home his 15th goal of another stellar campaign following exceptional work from Jordan Williams.
It was exactly the impact that Ismaël was looking for from his half-time substitute, who was a continuous threat down the right flank.
“When you are two down at half-time with only 45 minutes to play, you have to take the chance to do everything to have an impact on the game,” continued our Head Coach. “We knew that we had the possibility on the bench to make an impact and Jordan did very well.
“Congratulations to all the guys for their commitment this season, for the staff – they were completely dedicated – for the background people who work for the club and a massive thank you to our fans. When I compare now the atmosphere at Oakwell to here, our fans won completely the game and our fans deserved to go in the final.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.