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18 May 2021

Speaking after our narrow defeat against Swansea City in the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final first leg, Valérien Ismaël was full of praise for our vociferous backing who made their return to Oakwell for the first time in 14 months.

The Reds walked out to a cauldron of noise as fans came back through the turnstiles and gave their amazing support throughout.

“I want to say thank you to the Barnsley fans; it was an amazing atmosphere – incredible,” lauded Ismaël. “There were 4,500 but it felt like 30,000. It was noisy – exactly like we expected but maybe more and I just want to say thank you because it was incredible for the boys to have this feeling.

“It’s a shame that we didn’t have our fans this season to share all the goals we scored and the emotion, and we wanted to give a goal to our fans.”

Unfortunately, André Ayew’s first half strike was enough to give the Swans a slender advantage heading into the second leg in South Wales.

Barnsley were much improved after the interval and had plenty of opportunities to level and potentially go on to win the match, but found Freddie Woodman in inspired form and also hit the bar in injury time.

“Now, it’s half-time,” asserted Ismaël. “We felt the first 20-25 minutes the emotion in the players because we didn’t play well in transition and we conceded an offside goal – it’s really frustrating – and we have to get a penalty in the second half.

“I think the second half was much better; it was our game and our identity and that’s why we are in the play-offs. We have to score with Cauley, Britts and Carlton. It gives us a good feeling that we are near now and it will be a fight on Saturday.

“We travel to Swansea to give everything to make it happen because it’s the play-offs and this is our mentality.”

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

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