Head Coach gives his thoughts on this afternoon’s 1-1 draw against Fulham
Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith said it was important for the supporters that The Bees took something from this afternoon’s trip to local rivals Fulham. The home side took the lead after just eight minutes through Tom Cairney but Smith’s side leveled on the half-hour as Nico Yennaris blasted home following a slick team move. Daniel Bentley also saved a penalty in first-half injury time to ensure a share of the spoils from a keenly contested match at Craven Cottage.
“It was a good point in the end because this is a tough place to come,” said Dean, speaking to Bees Player after the match. “They have been having a great season and they have some real attacking flair. We had to give up a lot of possession today. It didn’t help us that we lost Rico Henry, Ryan Woods, and Maxime Colin in the week so it was an even younger team today. To come here and get a point is very good. They have had a lot of possession and domination. They had chances but on the other side of it we had chances as well. I thought it was important that we came here, didn’t get beat, and put in a performance for the supporters. To win last week and get a point here is really good for our supporters that is for sure.”
The home side dominated the opening stages and deserved their early advantage. However, a tactical switch in the midfield saw The Bees come back into the game more as it went on leaving Dean impressed with how his team adapted to their new shape.
“We had spoke about it during the week and the lads put it into practice out there,” said Dean. “We started with Nico as the deeper one but he became a little bit redundant as he wasn’t seeing much of the ball and they were bypassing him. With his mobility we thought that he could get a little bit closer to them higher up the pitch and Romaine Sawyers could get on the ball and dictate from there. It was a great goal from Nico Yennaris. He has a habit of arriving in the box and it was a great finish.”
The Bees preparations for the match were disrupted with a number of key players going down injured last week. With Ryan Woods, Maxime Colin, and Rico Henry all missing out, Dean was delighted with how their young replacements did and was pleased to be able to give Zain Westbrooke a full debut.
“Rico Henry opened his knee in training on Thursday so he won’t play next week either,” said Dean. “That is his season done which is a disappointment for him as I would have loved to have seen him out there today. Tom Field came in and did well: he probably had a nervy first 15 minutes but looked composed after that. Ryan Woods has burst a blood vessel in his ankle. It doesn’t look the most savoury ankle in the world but it is just bone bruising so he should be back for next week. Maxime Colin trained yesterday but didn’t feel 100 per cent at all. We got young Zain Westbrooke on the bench. It was fantastic for everybody at the club to see these players able to do it at this level.”