Valerien Ismael was delighted with his Barnsley side's 'mentality and character' to come from behind and beat hosts Birmingham City 2-1 on Tuesday.

The Blues took the lead just before the hour-mark but Cauley Woodrow levelled from the penalty spot and Callum Styles won it.

Ismael said: "I told the guys we have to sustain our focus and to have the mentality and desire to get the rewards. Today we did this. We missed too many chances in the first half then we went 1-0 down with a mistake but the penalty was the game-changer.

"We have a young team and we have a lot of areas to improve but today our character and mentality was so much better. I am happy that the guys know that, even if they concede the first goal, they have to capability to win the game."

Woodrow added: "The gaffer made us aware that it has been a long long time since we have come from behind so it was really good to do that.

"Everyone is aware there are fine margins in this league, and tonight showed that. We played well, had chances but didn't score then Birmingham get one chance and we're losing then you're like: 'what's happened?' But we never give up – that's what we're about. We carried on with our gameplan and high energy and got a win."

Barnsley were given the penalty for a foul on Callum Brittain by Kristian Pedersen. Ismael said: "I hoped that the referee would give the penalty and I was very happy he did. I thought there was a similar situation in the first half. Last week we should have had a penalty against Brentford and we had some situations at Blackburn."

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Styles got his third goal for the club by firing in in the 84th minute from 18 yards after a long throw by Dominik Frieser. Ismael said: "He is our special weapon from the edge of the box. But this is hard work because we work on this all the time. Adam Murray (first team coach) must be very delighted because every session he tries with this throw-in to score."

Ismael has won five of his eight matches in charge. He said: "I am very happy with my start, it gives us confidence and it improves our standing in the Championship, but we don't have time to enjoy it because we have another tough game on Friday (at home to Bournemouth). But it is a big win which gives us confidence and belief."