Defensive rock Kristoffer Ajer pointed to the last ditch defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion as a stepping stone in Brentford’s Premier League progress. The 23-year-old Norwegian said the training sessions following the injury time setback to The Seagulls last week had been “incredible”. And The Bees bounced back with a 2-0 win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“The training since that game has been the best I've seen since I arrived. The quality was incredible – we really pushed because we weren't happy with the result,” said Kristoffer, speaking to the written press after the win at Wolves.
The closeness of the squad and defensive obsession of Assistant Head Coach Brian Reimer were other major factors in our first top flight away win since 1947, he said.
“We work so much on defending every single week," Kris continued. "Brian is crazy about defending so we look into it every single day and analyse everything because we know how important it will be in the Premier League because there’s so much quality in the players we play against.
“We had zero shots on target against us at Wolves, one of the best attacking sides in the league, so I think we should be very, very proud of the defending.”
Bravery on the ball and keeping it for longer also meant Wanderers’ quality players had fewer opportunities to make their mark, according to Kris, who added: “Ivan Toney's performance was maybe the best I've seen as a striker - the way he kept the ball up there for us and won almost every single duel, scored a goal and had an assist. He was fantastic but it's also important to look at Bryan Mbeumo's performance and the way they link up together.”
Kris has already established himself as a fans’ favourite thanks to his last ditch tackling and swashbuckling forward runs, but he attributes some of his early consistency to the togetherness in the squad.
“The players were extremely welcoming and from day one I felt that togetherness in the dressing room," he said. "Ethan and Pontus have been great to me. Pontus is Scandinavian so we talk a lot in our spare time and Ethan is one of the nicest guys I've ever met, so it's been very, very easy to settle in. We all work so hard and analyse everything with Brian and the gaffer and we’re building a great relationship. It’s good on the pitch but also away from the football it's a fantastic group to be part of.”
Kris’s family are lifelong Liverpool fans and are travelling over from Norway for Saturday’s clash with Jurgen Klopp’s side, but he stressed they would all be Bees fans for the day.
“For me Virgil Van Dijk is the best defender in the world and Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world so it's going to be a great challenge and a very, very tough game,” he added: “But we know that if we defend strongly we have players offensively that can create opportunities and score. Liverpool are big, big favourites but maybe that suits us well.”