Both teams are close to achieving their goals for the regular season, but Wednesday’s 1-0 away win at the John Smith’s Stadium left some work still to do.
Huddersfield’s Carlos Corberan was generous in his praise for Barnsley’s aggressive approach. They scored through Daryl Dike midway through the second half and after that hit the bar via Michal Helik and had a couple of chances cleared off the line. With only a one-goal margin, Ismael could never rest easy, but he took confidence from a solid defensive performance.
“One-nil in stoppage time, a long ball in the box and anything can happen but I had confidence in them,” he said. “Huddersfield didn’t have a big, big chance to score and we were really strong again defensively with our back three.
“If you have the chance to finish the job earlier you have to do it but we had a chance cleared off the line, (a header against) the crossbar. We have to score more goals.”
Corberan admitted Barnsley were worthy winners.
“They are in their position on merit,” he said. “They are very aggressive in their pressing and they use the long balls and second balls a lot to try to create chances. They are very good at pressing and this is why they are scoring goals and winning games.
“In some moments we could control them and in some moments late in the game we could break the press to create chances but in other moments they were better than us.”
With three games to play, Huddersfield are a win away from the accepted 50-point safety mark, although Derby County and Rotherham United are struggling to put pressure on.
With Reading faltering, qualifying for the play-offs is almost but not quite done for Barnsley and after Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Coventry City, Ismael was pleased to see the mentality he demanded.
“We told the guys just to stay focused on the performance and what we had to do,” he said. “Everyone needed to raise their own performance to raise the team performance. When you do that you have more chance to win.”
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