Brentford Head Coach looks forward to the New Year’s Eve clash with The Canaries
Dean Smith said Saturday’s return fixture against Norwich City is a chance to put things right after The Canaries’ 5-0 win over The Bees at Carrow Road earlier this month. Alex Neil’s side blew The Bees away in East Anglia and now Dean is after revenge in front of the Sky Sports cameras as 2016 draws to a close.
“We thought it was a good time to play them the last time but we got found out on that day,” said Dean, speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match. “It is an important game for us because we want to exorcise the demons from the Carrow Road defeat. We didn’t play well and we had harsh words after the game. The response to that has been magnificent. Both us and Norwich City were on a bad run of form at the time. Norwich got a win against Aston Villa not long after but they got beat again on Monday at Reading. We are at home so we want to go and win it and we will try to win it. They have got quality players in their team. The players know that they didn’t perform to their standards in that game: It is an opportunity, live on TV, to put things right.”
The Bees head into Saturday evening’s match having lost only one of their last four league matches following that defeat to Norwich. Most recently, Dean’s side twice came from behind to secure a point at home to Cardiff City on Boxing Day and Dean is hoping to see more of that spirit when The Canaries come to TW8.
“A point was the minimum that we deserved on Monday,” said Dean. “We started the game really well but probably lost a bit of confidence when they scored. That is something that we have had to talk to the players about in terms of not catastrophizing situations in the game. We were well on top and that was their first opportunity, albeit given to them by the officials. We re-grouped at half-time and our second-half performance was a lot better. We got back into the game and were caught going for a winner. We showed a lot of character to come back which we have seen over the last few weeks. We took the big hit at Norwich City and we had a good chat after that. The players have responded magnificently: they have shown a determination and a desire to get better. The performances have shown that at times.”
With half the season now complete, The Bees sit 14th, nine points above the drop zone and 11 points off the top six. Dean thinks his young side have learned a lot from the first 23 games of the season and is backing them to finish the season strongly.
“It is a tough league,” said Dean. “If you look at the size of the football clubs in this league, then there is always going to be pressure on everyone. You have to try and compete in every game and get a bit of momentum. If you get momentum and consistent results you can climb this league very quickly. There are a couple of teams, in Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion, who seem to be running away with it a little bit and everyone else is playing catch up. We need to get two or three wins on the spin to put ourselves in contention. We have a number of young players who are finding their feet in the Championship and are starting to acclimatise. I am expecting better in the second-half of the season from a few of them.”