Valerien Ismael is happy with the start he has made as Barnsley’s head coach but admits he learned valuable lessons from a 3-0 loss at Cardiff City on Tuesday.
The Frenchman won his first two games at home to Queens Park Rangers and Watford, but could not become the first Reds boss to win his first three since Lee Johnson as they were beaten in Wales where he said they were ‘not good enough’.
Barnsley have collected ten points from as many games and are 18th in the table, three points clear of the bottom three.
They now visit second-bottom Derby County tomorrow before a two-week international break.
Ismael told the Chronicle: “I am happy with six points so far. You have to get consistency with points to reach your goals. We need good performances and the points to get confidence. It was very very important to get points before the international break. It would be good to make the gap bigger to Derby and the other teams but, to do that, we have to work very hard from the first minute.”
Ismael admits he learned more from the loss in midweek, when Barnsley were outmuscled and outplayed by a physical side, than the two previous wins.
“When you win it is easier, everybody is happy. But when you lose you can see more. The most important thing is the next game, and the attitude of the players. It is a learning process and it will be good to see how the team reacts. I am a winner and I want to win all the time.
“We didn’t drive five hours to Cardiff to lose a game. It was a learning process for everyone, including the staff.
“We recognise a lot of situations and, in the future, we will take other tactical decisions. When an opponent plays only long balls, you cannot press so it is important to to adapt.
“We don’t have a big squad with two or three players in every position. We have to work hard together because, when one player slips, we are in trouble.”
After tomorrow’s match, Barnsley do not play again until they host Nottingham Forest on November 21.
Ismael said: “I am very happy with the break because you have time to work with the players, and we need time for our injured players to come back.
“We will work every day on a different part of my philosophy. We already have the sessions planned.
“But I also needed the games to see how we can improve the team. In the break, the players need time with their family and for recovery after a tough schedule then there is another big block after the break. I have to find a balance.”
Ismael is yet to meet any Barnsley fans or see Oakwell with supporters in it.
“I have only spoken to fans through social media. But we have to adapt to the circumstances. It is something different for everyone. I want to see and hear what happens when everyone goes to Oakwell and pushes the team forward to win.”
Ismael is now living away from his wife and daughters. He said: “It is difficult but it is part of the job. My wife knew this job can be sometimes be very hard.
“It goes quickly and you can be far from the family. I have been very happy this week because my family has been here.”