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Valerien Ismael won’t get carried away as Barnsley close in on play-off spots

Brentford v Barnsley – Sky Bet Championship – Brentford Community Stadium
(Image credit: John Walton)

Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael remained grounded after his side closed in on the Sky Bet Championship play-off places with a 2-0 win over Stoke.

Callum Styles put the Tykes ahead early on at Oakwell before substitute Daryl Dike wrapped up victory in the 90th minute with his first goal for the club.

It was a fourth consecutive league victory for Barnsley, who lie just one point and two places off a play-off spot and have a game in hand on the three teams directly above them.

But Ismael only has his eyes on surpassing the 50-point mark, which is often thought of as the total needed to make sure of avoiding relegation in the second tier.

Ismael said: “The result was perfect for us tonight. I am very overjoyed. It was a joy to see Dike score and it’s another clean sheet.

“It was a difficult game for sure and we had to fight hard for the win.

“We started really strong and scored quickly, but we struggled a lot in the first half because we conceded too many corners.

“We tried to win the ball, win duels and push the line higher. We adapted and, in the end, finished the job.

“We have to press, fight and be more direct. We have to be more concentrated on set pieces and we have to stay strong and wait on our chances.

“It was a big step in the right direction for us tonight.

“It will be another fight on Saturday. We are in a great position with 48 points and we need one more win to get over the 50-point line.”

Stoke manager Michael O’Neill was disappointed with his side’s performance in a game that both teams started level on 45 points.

O’Neill said: “We knew coming here what type of game it would be. It was a case at times of getting to the ball, playing it forward and making life difficult for the opposition.

“I have to say that Barnsley are very good at how they play and put great pressure on you. Tonight, we gave ourselves a difficult task conceding so early in the game.

“You can’t give a team like Barnsley oxygen and we gave them oxygen with the goal that they scored.

“We had good opportunities that we didn’t take in the first half and it was at times a little bit frustrating with our final choice of pass.

“Ultimately, when you’re behind to a team like Barnsley, you have to play common-sense football and we didn’t demonstrate enough common sense.

“We didn’t get to the ball and make the right decisions when we got there. We didn’t deserve to take anything from the game.”