Thanks to a miraculous seven-game winning streak, Barnsley are now sixth in the Championship. Valérien Ismaël, the Barnsley head coach, is the mastermind behind their meteoric rise. The Tykes are now in a position to challenge for promotion to the Premier League.
Barnsley: A Transformed Side Under Valérien Ismaël
Barnsley: From Relegation Candidates to Play-Off Hopefuls Under Ismaël
Barnsley were relegation candidates in the not too distant past. However, Barnsley’s new tactical identity is shifting the balance. Using a high-energy press, the Tykes wear opponents down, especially in the latter stages of the game.
Coupled with a direct style, the intensity of Barnsley’s game plan has the ability to force errors within the opposition ranks. Alongside their attacking dynamism, the stalwart backline is also impressive, with just three goals conceded in the last seven games.
The new tactics are certainly proving popular with the players. Cauley Woodrow, 26, is the Tyke’s top scorer and is on track to having his highest-scoring season, with 11 goals in 23 appearances. Alex Mowatt, 26, is dominating from midfield with six goals and as many assists to his name. And with few goals conceded, the back three of Mads Anderson, Michal Helik, and Toby Sibbick, are providing a solid foundation for the forward players.
Valérien Ismaël, speaking on the club’s website after his side’s victory over Birmingham, lauded his player’s spirits: “The togetherness is unbelievable, the team spirit is brilliant and I think, for the guys, it’s all the reward.”
And Ismaël is only interested in players that will suit the new system, highlighting this when speaking in the Yorkshire Post: “With our philosophy, you can take it or leave it. You can love it or you can hate it. But we stay true to ourselves and we have our identity and way to play football.”
The no-holds-barred approach is certainly proving a success.
Transfer Market Nous is Key to Barnsley’s Success
The January transfer market is a fickle period for many clubs and Barnsley are no different. The January window is often a period of panic buying fever and, with inflated prices, it is tempting for clubs to cash in on their assets.
Valérien Ismaël hails the strength shown by Barnsley by not cashing in on players but also adding to the mix. In fact, one player, in particular, is showcasing Barnsley’s new ethos. Daryl Dike, a 20-year-old American is proving a hit in Yorkshire. Little was known of the American but he is now stamping his authority into games at the upper end of the Championship. With three goals in five appearances and one man of the match award, it is safe to assume Dike is settling in nicely.
Ismaël, speaking in the Yorkshire Post highlighted the importance of keeping your best players: “it was a very important thing that we kept all the players in the winter transfer (window) and added some quality because now you see exactly why it was important to fight for every player.”
Barnsley Still Some Way off Automatic Promotion
Barnsley are some way off of the Championship top spots, but, a bid for the playoffs is doable. In the next five games, Barnsley will face a mixed bag. Two of the teams challenging for playoffs, Bournemouth and Reading, Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday are up next.
These games will be absolutely crucial to their play-off charge and if the Tykes can deny Reading and Bournemouth points, Valérien Ismaël may just find his battling Barnsley marching towards a play-off clash.
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