Valerien Ismael was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after Barnsley’s third successive win put them within four points of the Championship play-off places.
Far from wanting to discuss promotion prospects, Ismael hailed the 67th-minute winner from Carlton Morris in the 1-0 victory at Bristol City as a step nearer safety.
Substitute Morris netted his third goal in as many games from close range after Alex Mowatt’s corner from the left had led to a desperate scramble in City’s six-yard box.
It was no more than Barnsley deserved from a dominant display against managerless opponents who have lost their last seven matches in all competitions.
Ismael said: “We are now five points off reaching 50 and that remains the first target for us.
“I do not want to dream of anything more at this stage because there are a lot of games still to play.
“I don’t look beyond the next match and that is a very tough one against Stoke City.
“Today we dominated the first half. Michal Helik should have scored and Daryl Dike was also not far away.
“We should have been ahead at half-time. But we kept to our game plan and the goal came.
“Our substitutes made an impact and Carlton scored for us again. Of course, he wants a starting place, but the important thing is that we have selection options in a lot of positions.
“We knew we were playing a team short on confidence and that they would try to regain some with long balls forward.
“The players dealt with that really well. It is three points and a clean sheet, so I am very happy.
“The team spirit in the dressing room is excellent and that is showing in our performances.
“Hopefully we can continue to move forward, but it is important we stay focussed because the Championship is such a tough league.”
City managed just one shot on target in the entire game, a long-range effort from Famara Diedhiou in the first half.
Assistant head coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing, placed in caretaker charge following Dean Holden’s sacking on Tuesday night, could do nothing to prevent another loss.
Simpson admitted: “Barnsley were physically and mentally tougher. While our players worked hard, there was too little quality for us to create openings.
“There is no magic wand or pills we can use to change our run of results. I know the owner has made it clear there is a selection process to go through, but the sooner the club appoint Dean’s successor the better.
“The staff are in limbo at the moment. Keith and I will be as professional as possible. But the improvement we need has to come from inside the players.
“They know that. We have told them to ignore the league table and just concentrate on the next game, which is a very tough one at Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
“We will prepare as well as we can, but we had 15 players unavailable because of injury today and that obviously affects team selection.
“It’s important we get as many of those players back as quickly as possible. But for the moment we have to go with what we have.
“We have told the lads to ignore the league table and just concentrate on showing they are better footballers than is currently looking the case.”