QPR v Barnsley - Valerian Ismael pitches into debate

ON ANY suggestions that weather-hit surfaces ravaged by winter may be benefitting Barnsley’s game plan, Valerian Ismael has an instant reply.

It is one which is backed by the evidence, the Reds’ head coach suggests.

Millwall were the latest side who failed to cope with Barnsley’s direct tactics and relentless pressing game on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 at Oakwell.

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It represented a fifth successive league win for the Reds, who will create club history if they make it six tonight. No Barnsley side has previously won six consecutive league games in the same season.

Valerien Ismael: Dismisses critics. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

There was no doubting the merit of a fifth at the weekend, although Millwall chief Gary Rowett added a caveat afterwards, namely that he feels that the condition of some pitches at the end of winter is a key factor in their recent run of strong form.

Ismael, who reports no fresh injury issues for tonight’s game, countered: “In January, we played at Watford on a perfect pitch and pressed very well and at Norwich, we also played on a perfect pitch and did that.

“It is no excuse. You have to adapt. This is the Championship and you cannot have a pitch like in the Premier League and change the pitch regularly like you want.

“It is the issue for us and we have found a solution that suits the team and our game. For sure, we sometimes have other ideas, but you cannot go through that idea and have to adapt.

“I tell the team all the time: ‘We do what we need to win the game and adapt to the situation’, whether it be the pitch or the opponent or the way to play football and all the situations..

“We have got all our results through hard work and we deserve what we have got. But we are not satisfied and want to keep moving and keep the momentum going.”

Last six games: QPR WWWWDL; Barnsley LWWWWW.

Referee: A Woolmer (Northants).

Last time: QPR 0 Barnsley 1, June 20, 2020; Championship.

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