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“I thought we saw the game out really well”

Dean on this afternoon’s 3-1 Sky Bet Championship win over Fulham

2 December 2017

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Bees Head Coach Dean Smith was delighted with how his side saw out the game this afternoon as they took the bragging rights at Griffin Park after a 3-1 win over Fulham. The visitors took the lead through Neeskens Kebano midway through the first-half but that was as good as it got for The Whites. Sergi Canos levelled with his first of the season before the interval with Romaine Sawyers and Ollie Watkins netting after the break to secure the three points.

Speaking to iFollow Brentford after the game, Dean said: “We are both footballing teams and we both like to play out from the back. I expected them to come and press us and we wanted to do exactly the same. It was all about who made the least mistakes or who pressed the best. I was pleased with the first ten minutes but then it became a game of momentum. I felt that a couple of times when they played out of our press we lost a bit of belief. I spoke to the players at half-time and told them to go and press in that second-half. I thought we did that really well. We got a good early goal and the red card helped because you can go and do it a bit more then.”

Brentford could have been celebrating back-to-back derby wins but for two late Queens Park Rangers goals on Monday night which denied Smith’s side the victory. However, five days later, The Bees boss was very pleased with how his side managed the game in the closing stages at Griffin Park.

“It was very disappointing for everyone on Monday evening but today showed how important that third goal was,” admitted Dean. “We spoke during the week about continuing to play the way we do: passing it, keeping it moving, and pressing when we lose it. I thought we did that really well in the second-half. What happened on Monday night was never going to happen again. Today I thought we saw the game out really well. Nico Yennaris, Kamohelo Mokotjo, and Ryan Woods were excellent in the yards that they pressed. That enabled me to bring off Nico and get on Josh McEachran. It was great play for the third.”

The Bees were dealt an early blow as Lasse Vibe limped off inside 20 minutes. With both his backup strikers unavailable, Dean threw midfielder Romaine Sawyers on up front and the St Kitts and Nevis international repaid his Head Coach’s faith with a goal and an assist.  

“Lasse Vibe felt his hamstring so we had to get him off,” revealed Dean. “With Neal Maupay being suspended we were struggling for options, especially with Justin Shaibu feeling his hamstring during the week so he couldn’t be on the bench. That gave an opportunity for Romaine who has played up there before. They played a bit of a false nine in the first-half and we played one as well. He did really well and I am really pleased for him. He is working really hard at the football club and I know, at times, he isn’t everyone’s favourite but I thought his performance today was excellent.”

This afternoon’s win means that it is now just one defeat in 13 league games for The Bees as we approach the midway point of the Sky Bet Championship season. With only Hull City, Barnsley, and Norwich City left to play before halfway, Dean feels his side are in a good place to kick on into the new year.   

“I am really pleased with the run because it is a really tough league,” said Dean. “We have played 20 games so far and have another three to go until we have played everyone. I feel that we have been as consistent as we have ever been. We have probably drawn too many games, and lost too many points from winning positions, but we have the basis for that consistency. I certainly don’t think anybody will fancy coming to play us.”   

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