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20 May 2021



20 May 2021

The Reds' boss spoke with the media ahead of this weekend's crunch Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg with the Swans.

Ready to travel to South Wales this weekend looking to overturn a one-goal deficit, Head Coach, Valérien Ismaël wants to see the same kind of play that his side displayed in the second 45 of Monday night’s 1-0 first leg defeat at Oakwell.

“We need to start the game on Saturday like we did the second half at Oakwell.” The Frenchman explained.

“That control, that intensity, it is what we need from the first whistle. Swansea didn’t play their best game, but they were focused and disciplined and did the simple things properly. 

“I think we are well prepared, we know what we need to do and this is the play-offs - anything can happen.”

Whilst a harsh result based on the balance of play, it was a third consecutive loss against the Swans this season. 

Ismaël believes there’s only one thing that matters now, only one thing that he and the team can affect and that is Saturday’s game at Liberty Stadium. 

“Yes, we have lost three times against them. But if we win on Saturday, that is all that matters. That is our job, our focus. 

“We can’t change Monday night. Their goal is offside; he’s coming back from an offside position. There should be VAR in such a big game like this, but there’s nothing we can do about this now.

“The pure focus is Saturday in Swansea and being clinical in our performance. Then we can get the result that we want.”

The Reds failed to take a number of very presentable opportunities in the first leg against a Swans side who have now registered three clean sheets against Barnsley. 



20 May 2021

Valérien is very aware of the strength of Swansea City but is hoping his side can make things difficult for the hosts who will have a small number of fans inside the stadium for the first time in 14 months.

“They’re very strong, very stable.” Admitted Ismaël.

“They are one of the strongest teams in the Championship. But if we score we hope to make them nervous. This is our purpose. 

“Swansea will this time have their fans with them. But it’s not always an advantage. It is an emotional feeling. We have to focus on the game-plan and try to score as quick as possible, and then let’s see.”

Whatever happens this weekend, the Reds have enjoyed a terrific campaign.

But Ismaël isn’t interested in assessing the season at this point. 

“I’m so proud of the guys, but we are not finished. We have another chance to make something special happen on Saturday. 

“This club went to Brentford last season and had to win. They did it. We go into Saturday with the same mindset. We have nothing to lose. It’s all there for us and I am confident in my players that we can book our ticket to Wembley.”

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