Valerien Ismael admits his start as head coach of Barnsley is ‘like a dream’ but he is not dwelling on the six-point gap between the Reds and the Championship relegation zone.
The Frenchman has collected three wins from his first four games as Barnsley head coach, with clean sheets in all the victories. He has been nominated for October’s Manager of the Month.
He arrived at Oakwell last month with the club having failed to win any of their first seven league games of a season for the first time since 1991, while it was their longest wait for a first victory of a campaign in a century.
They won at home to Queens Park Rangers, 3-0, and Watford, 1-0, before a 3-0 loss at Cardiff City was followed by a 2-0 victory at Derby County on Saturday.
Asked about his start, Ismael told the Chronicle: “It is like a dream.
“It is because of hard work by the players and staff. It is not only my nine points, it is for the staff and players also.
“We work all together every day.
“Now we have more confidence and belief in our principles for the team to transfer onto the pitch.”
The win in Derby meant the Reds moved up to 16th, six points off the top six and six clear of the bottom three in which they spent 311 days last season before staying up in the final seconds.
Ismael said: “It looks positive but there is a long way in the season.
“We have to work hard. We don’t have a big roster like Derby or Cardiff or other opponents. We have to work very very hard to get every point.
“But the wins give us more confidence for the daily work and to prepare for the next game against Forest.”
Barnsley’s next match is at home to Nottingham Forest on November 21, following a two-week international break.
That game begins a schedule of 12 fixtures in 43 days until the New Year.
Ismael said: “In the break, we need to get a balance of recovery for the guys but I am very happy to have more training sessions to work with these principles. We will work on what we need to work on in and out of possession.
“In a lot of situations in possession in Derby, it was not really good so that’s why we have to work.”
Meanwhile, the international break may be a chance for Ismael to look at some of the players who have been in the under 23s’ squad.
Summer signing Isaac Christie-Davies, 23, is yet to make his professional debut and the midfielder has only been named in one matchday squad when he was an unused substitute against Bristol City last month under caretaker Adam Murray.
He is currently competing with Alex Mowatt, Matty James, Herbie Kane, Callum Styles and Romal Palmer for a place in the midfield two.
Winger Dan Bramall has impressed in the under 23s side with five goals in four games after signing in September.
Ismael told the Chronicle: “We have a lot of good young players.
“We have to look at them all.
“If the possibility is there to give the young players a chance in a training session or in the game, we will do it.
“For Isaac, midfield is a position where we have a lot of quality.
“It is our best position.”
One player who has broken into the first team squad this season is striker Victor Adeboyejo who scored his first Championship goal to secure the win in Derby. Ismael said: “I am very happy for this guy. Since my first day, I worked with him and I feel very good spirit and a positive attitude.
“He is ready to invest a lot of energy for the team and I think this way to play football could be very good for him.
“I hope it is a breakthrough for him for this season.”