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Dean ahead of 'tough game' with Brighton at Griffin Park

3 February 2017

Head Coach previews Sunday's meeting with The Seagulls

Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith is evidently looking forward to facing Chris Hughton's table-topping Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. The Bees overcame this weekend's opponents 2-0 at The AMEX in September and remain the only team to beat Hughton's men at home in the league this season.

"They will be straight in because they got knocked out of the Cup last week by Lincoln," said Dean. "Then they've gone to Huddersfield and got beat as well. Hopefully we can make that a hat-trick for them. I know Chris very well and he's done brilliantly at that football club, they deserve to be where they are and it'll be a tough game for us.

"We went there and won 2-0 and deservedly so on the day, we were excellent and played very well. I think we followed that up and drew 1-1 at Villa on the Wednesday just after it."

Looking back on Tuesday's 3-0 win over The Villains at Griffin Park, Dean indicated that the atmosphere around Jersey Road was a lot better following that mid-week victory.

"It was a great way to end the month," said Dean. "It was a great way to show everybody what we are capable of. I felt our last home performance against Newcastle was very good but we didn't get the result. Tuesday night we got the performance and we got the result as well, and that was really pleasing.

"It was a tough month, we knew it was going to be. The run of fixtures we were coming up against made it really tough. It's nice to end the month with a win against Aston Villa and do it so emphatically as well."

With Scott Hogan leaving for Aston Villa on Tuesday night, the gaffer faced questions from the gathered press about his squad strength moving forward. Dean responded by reflecting on the first half of the season.

"I think because of the form of Scott, it has been difficult for others," said Dean. "He finished last season on fire without playing a full game, then started this season in the same vein. It was very difficult for other players to get in ahead of him, such was his talent at putting the ball in the back of the net.

"His work rate was good, he was good around the training ground and he was scoring goals. That's why people go and pay the sort of money that was paid for him. What it does now is give other people an opportunity to step up to the plate and show what they are about.

Lasse Vibe's brace past Sam Johnstone was a signal of his intention to permanently replace Hogan in Brentford's front line. Dean insisted that he put his faith in the right man.

"I've always had great belief in Lasse," he said. "My first game in charge was against MK Dons and he was outstanding, he scored great header. He seems to hit purple patches when he scores goals.

"He's been unfortunate this season because when we were having a good run at the start of the season, I think we beat Preston and Reading, Lasse was involved playing with Scott but then he did his ankle. He was out then for a month, which made it difficult for him to get back to full speed.

"I fully expect him to come in and score goals, because he's good at that. He makes good runs, he has good legs about him and has got good awareness. I believe he can score goals."

Dean also commented on his tactical approach to the Villa game, paying attention to the fact that his system changed thanks to some very helpful squad additions.

"We felt we had recruited well in the summer," said Dean. "What we weren't blessed with were wide players with pace. We've addressed that. We got Jota back from Eibar, we have Sergi Canos in and Florian Jozefzoon as well. They give us an extra dimension and that enabled me to flip the system on Tuesday, and they came in and did very well."

Subscribers can watch Dean's full press conference via Bees Player above.

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