Valerien Ismael issues warning to Barnsley FC players

BARNSLEY head coach Valerien Ismael has issued a warning to his play-off bound Reds side - and says they will have no chance of success if they do not shake off some recent indifferent performances.

The Reds sealed a top-six finish with two games to go in the Championship campaign after Reading failed to pick up three points last Sunday against Swansea.

But despite an outstanding achievement, Ismael is mindful of his side’s recent form after being hugely fortunate to beat Rotherham United last weekend and being poor in their recent defeat to Coventry City.

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As a head coach who prides himself on his side’s intensity, Ismael also insists that there will be no easing off in club’s last two games of the regular season against Preston and Norwich as his side aim to enter the end-of-season lottery in good form.

Valerien Ismael.

He said: “We are going ‘all in’ and we take the two games as preparation for the play-offs. I said the guys it is important to keep going. Our motto is always to start strong and finish strong.

“It is exactly the same and our mentality. We don’t want to stop and want to finish as high as possible in the table.

“I think, as a reward for the season and all the commitment we made, it is important to have that mentality.

“This is my expectation for the last two games and secondly, we need to raise our performance.

“In the performances against Middlesbrough, Coventry and especially Rotherham, the performance was not great. Only Huddersfield was a performance we know about Barnsley.

“We need to raise our performance. Because with a performance like Rotherham, we do not need to speak about the play-offs, we will not have a chance.

“We also want the points and take any chance to get the points. You never know at the end, it could be massive to play the second leg at home and we are talking about it the fans are back in the stadium and it could be a big advantage.”

Meanwhile, Ismael has praised captain Alex Mowatt for earning a place in the EFL Championship Team of the Year, but revealed his surprise that no other Reds players were in the line-up.

Mowatt made the cut, but the likes of Michal Helik, Mads Andersen, Callum Brittain and Callum Styles were overlooked.

The Frenchman added: “I am very pleased for Alex and he plays on the next level and has reached another level this season. He is very important for us as a captain and making a statement in the Championship.

“But I was disappointed when I saw the squad. I just wanted to shake my head and to say normally, you must have another Barnsley player inside or a Brentford player in a centre-back position.

“It is a strange feeling because when you give everything, especially as a player, you need to have the reward and understand it.”