Valerien Ismael made a winning start to life as Barnsley head coach, with his team beating Queens Park Rangers 3-0 on Tuesday night at Oakwell.
Things could hardly have gone any better for the Frenchman, who had taken only a couple of training session since starting in the job on Sunday.
Rob Dickie’s first-half red card helped Barnsley seize control, with Cauley Woodrow, Conor Chaplin and an own goal seeing them comfortably secure their first win of the Championship season.
Here’s what Ismael had to say after the victory…
On the perfect start
Arriving at a club yet to register a league win this season, Ismael not only saw his new team break their duck, but do so with a very convincing performance.
“It’s always very good if you can start with a win,” he said. “It gives you confidence for the work with the team, so the players believe more in your words when you win.
“What was important today was to get the three points, the first three points this season; and secondly the quality of our game, how we played. I saw a lot of good situations and I can build up the work for the next game on Saturday.”
On taking advantage
“The red card was a perfect situation,” Ismael admitted of the decisive moment of the game, when Dickie was dismissed for a foul on goalbound Woodrow.
“What I want to see is the vertical game, to try and come quickly in the box, and after we had a lot of control on the game and we put the pressure on all the time.
“To me it doesn’t matter if you 3-0, 4-0, I want to see that from the first minute to the last we keep going, and the team did this today very well.”
On doing well beforehand
Barnsley certainly made the most of the circumstances but that’s not to say they needed the helping hand, having looked good in their performances in the spells before the red card.
Ismael said: “I think the first ten minutes were clearly for QPR, but after it was more stable from us. We came back in the game more confident with the ball and we tried to play in behind the (back) four, a vertical game all the time.
“I saw a lot of good situations which we showed the guys at half-time, situations with 11 against 11 and not with 10 men.”
On learning quickly
Ismael gave credit to everyone at the club for how quickly they had been able to adapt to his arrival, ensure his messages got across and implement them.
“It was a big step in the right direction,” he said. “It’s good for us but it’s also the staff. The staff have done a very good job the last two days because everybody was open to understanding what I want and trying to translate for the guys.
“It was a very good feeling the last two days and when you win like this it gives you more confidence, you believe more in this way to play football, but it’s a long way and we have to do the same in every performance.”
On Callum Styles
Styles played in not one but two positions on his return from injury, playing alongside skipper Alex Mowatt in central midfield in the first half and then moving to left wing-back in the second period.
Ismael said of the 20-year-old: “Callum is a very good player. I saw that already on the videos and in the first training (session) you see he is very intelligent, he understands quickly what I want to see.
“I told him on the first day ‘a good player plays everywhere’ and he can play everywhere. He can play both positions very well and, for me, I’m more flexible with the team.”
Styles took the position of Clarke Odour at half-time and Ismael confirmed that the change was tactical, rather than an injury. The coach also said that Luke Thomas and Romal Palmer were both absent because of injury, but could return for Saturday’s game at home to Watford.