Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael believes his side’s battling FA Cup exit to Chelsea was a “game-changer” for their win at Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Brentford.
Goals from Conor Chaplin and Carlton Morris clinched the points for the Tykes in an ill-tempered affair which saw the visitors end the Bees’ 21-game unbeaten run.
But Ismael was keen to keep his players focused ahead of their midweek game against Blackburn.
“We won but we have only three points,” he said. “For a few weeks we’ve performed well but not got the result, but all the time against the top sides like Norwich and Watford we have been very close.
“The game against Chelsea gave us a lot of confidence because if you play like that against them you can compete against any side in the league.”
He added: “This win means a lot because we said we needed to make the next step. How good you play is all very well but in football you need a result. It is not enough to perform against them, just be there and lose the game.
“In this division you can lose to anyone and win against anyone but you have to stay focused. We will enjoy tonight but the next game comes quickly.”
Ismael said his side were 11 points away from their first target, and added: “We have a tough schedule until the end of February, but Chelsea was a game-changer in terms of our mindset.
“Since I have been trainer here it was the best week. We have a way to play football and today was the result of three months’ work. Everyone knows the principle, what we have to do and the game-plan and it has given us more confidence.”
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank admitted his team’s 21-game unbeaten run was halted by the better side.
But he says the Bees’ response in the midweek derby at QPR will be the more important measure of their promotion credentials.
“We knew before that Barnsley would make it difficult,” he said. “We lost to the better team today, but it is how we react to it and how we bounce back that matters.
“It was inevitable that we would not go the rest of the season unbeaten but I think we have been so consistent and so good.
“Today there was no lack of effort and they put everything out there. There was big determination and we lost a game to a team that were at their very top level.”
Frank was delighted that his side have a high-profile midweek clash with their local rivals, and added: “No matter when we play QPR, it is always a big game and a great opportunity for us to bounce back.”
But the Dane, whose side could have regained top spot with a win over Barnsley, believes there will be plenty more twists in the race for promotion.
“This is going to go to the end of the season, I have no doubt about that,” he said. “So everyone speaking about promotion must know the only thing we speak about is the next game.
“We will stay in there and stay focused like always. We can be very happy for 24 hours when we win or very sad when we don’t. This one will hurt tonight and in the morning but then we will prepare for the next game.”
Frank suggested the fine margins went against his side but bemoaned goals at the start of each half, adding: “If our two good chances in the first half go in or we get the penalty after half-time, then it is a different game.”