Valerien Ismael has hailed Barnsley's 'incredible achievement' of finishing fifth in the Championship and was delighted that his side 'returned to our identity' in a 2-2 final day draw with champions Norwich City at Oakwell.

The Reds finished fifth with 78 points and now play Swansea City in the play-off semi-finals, at home on May 17 and away on May 22.

Ismael told the Chronicle: "It is an incredible achievement to finish fifth, when you see what happened last season and the way we started this season. Tonight I am very proud to be manager of that team. I also want to say thank you to my staff. Everyone gives everything.

"I am really happy to give fans pride this season. I hope they can be back for the play-offs because we need to celebrate with them.

"The Championship is finished and we must recover and prepare for the new competition against Swansea."

He added: "When I arrived, I did not expect to be fifth but I am a winner. I wanted to have a safety season as quick as possible but, after January with the signings we made, we thought it could be something special."

Captain Alex Mowatt missed the game with a minor groin problem but Ismael says he will be back for the play-offs.

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"After the game against Preston, he had some groin issues. He came back in training this week and wanted to play but I didn't want to take any risk. We need our captain to lead us in the play-offs. We have enough days to prepare the game with Alex. He will be back for the first leg."

Ismael was impressed with 20-year-old Jasper Moon who replaced Mowatt and made his first Barnsley start.

"Jasper gives us the feeling every day in training that he was ready to compete. We have a very strong feeling with him. With his performance in Preston, I have 100 per cent confidence in Jasper Moon and he made the decision with Alex easier. Jasper repaid my confidence."

Ismael had been disappointed with previous performances and wanted his side to improve in their last game of the league season against the first-placed Canaries. The Reds led through Cauley Woodrow then Conor Chaplin but conceded equalisers twice.

"It was exactly our expectation that we would get back to our identity from throughout the season. It was important to finish strong against the champions. We wanted to win but we deserved at least one point. Congratulations to Norwich who deserve to be champions. We are proud of the guys to give such a performance against them, it's a great feeling to see we are a top team and we showed today why we are in the play-offs spots."

Chaplin ended a ten-game goal drought. Ismael said: "It is a strange situation with Conor because everyone in the club sees his quality but he just thinks too much. I hope this goal gives him the confidence he needs for the play-offs. He could have scored more goals this season but today he rewarded himself with a great finish."

Chaplin added: "We have been disappointed with the last few performances. We have got a few good results but we haven't been playing like we can. We were back to how we can play when we have been really good.

"It was nice to score. I'm really happy. My granddad told me I was going to score today. He usually tells me to try to score but he today he said I definitely would. I'll tell him to say that every time now."

Liam Kitching made his Barnsley debut as a late substitute after injury. Ismael said: "It was good to see him on the pitch. Our physios Vikki (Stevens) and Craig Sedgwick made an incredible job with him."