Barnsley extended their winning streak to seven games at the weekend as they disposed of relegation-threatened Birmingham City 1-0 at Oakwell.
American loanee Daryl Dike proved to be the pivotal factor after his stunning second half strike, but Birmingham failed to have a shot on target in what would have bitterly disappointed manager Aitor Karanka.
Following the game, Blues player Yan Valery was rather critical of the style of play that Barnsley adopted – one that has led them to picking up 21 points in the last seven matches.
The French defender – on loan from Premier League side Southampton – claimed that the Tykes ‘don’t play football’, and that their only style is ‘long balls’, per reporter Doug O’Kane.
Valery was not only critical of their style of play, but also wasn’t happy that the referee didn’t stop play in the build-up to Barnsley’s winner.
The right-back was struck in the upper body area after a poor clearance by his own skipper Harlee Dean – which sent Valery to the ground.
The referee, believing there to not be a head injury issue, played on and it led to Daryl Dike unleashing a thunderbolt which was too hot to handle for Neil Etheridge.
Valery’s comments clearly got back to the Barnsley dressing room, as forward Conor Chaplin has come biting back with a response of his own to the Frenchman.
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“I saw the comments Yan Valery made about us at the weekend and, I promise you, we could not care less,” Chaplin said, per O’Kane.
“We don’t care about anyone else or what they say about us.”
After seven wins on the bounce, how can anyone be critical of Barnsley?
It does sound like Valery is being slightly bitter – Barnsley do play some long balls and they’d be silly not to do so as they try to utilise the physical presences of Daryl Dike and Cauley Woodrow, but it’s clearly working for them.
As many neutrals saw in their FA Cup clash with Chelsea, the Tykes’ high-pressing style is great to watch and they’ll continue to play the way they do until they come unstuck – if they ever do.