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Dean Smith reflects on a ‘very tough’ afternoon

28 January 2017

“It was always going to be tough but I didn’t want to come away from here without us asking a question”

Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith felt that quality told in the end as Chelsea advanced to the last 16 of the Emirates FA Cup after a 4-0 win over The Bees at Stamford Bridge. The home side raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes and sealed the game late on with another brace of goals. In between times The Bees tested their near neighbours, in particular after the break, but couldn’t find a way to get anything from the game.

Speaking to Bees Player at full-time, Dean said: “First-half it was very tough. We started off ok on the ball and passed it quite well but then Willian sticks one in the top corner which made it difficult from there. We tried to put some pressure on them but they broke away and scored to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes. It became a monumental task against a top team. If you want to be aggressive in the first 20 minutes against a team like this, then you can have your face slapped very quickly because they have quality players.”

Two goals down at the break Smith’s side came out firing in the second-half. Lasse Vibe and Nico Yennaris both had chances to halve the deficit but neither could find a way past Asmir Begovic in the hosts goal. Substitute Branislav Ivanovic then made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to play before Michy Batshuayi netted from the spot to round off the scoring late on.

“I said to the players at half-time that I didn’t think we got enough out of the first-half,” said Dean. “It was always going to be tough but I didn’t want to come away from here without us asking a question. We needed to get on the front-foot, make some tackles, and ask questions of Chelsea. I thought we did that and for 20 minutes in the second-half we put an awful lot of pressure on them and created some good chances. Unfortunately, we didn’t take one of them which would have allowed us to get back in the game. Branislav Ivanovic got the third one from a breakaway and then the game is over.”

Dean made two alterations to the Brentford matchday 18 for the visit to Stamford Bridge with Yoann Barbet replacing Tom Field at left-back while Scott Hogan came onto the bench for Reece Cole. When asked after the game, Dean said there was no update on the future of 14-goal striker Hogan, with the transfer window closing on Tuesday, but added that he felt Field had been looking tired recently.

“Tom Field needed a rest: he has played four or five games in a short space of time and has looked a little bit tired,” said Dean. “All young lads have a little bit of a dip and we didn’t feel that he played as well as he can at Wigan Athletic. We felt it was time to give him a breather as we have to manage the squad ready for the game against Aston Villa on Tuesday and Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. I will prepare for the game against Aston Villa with Scott Hogan in mind because, until his valuation is met, I am led to believe that he won’t be going anywhere.”

The Bees were roared on by nearly 6,000 traveling fans at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. Dean was full of praise for the backing the team received and thought that it was important his side gave it a real go after the break for the supporters.  

“The fans were brilliant and I thought that was why it was important at half-time that the players knew they had to get some bums off seats in the away end,” said Dean. “It was a local derby and they wanted to see us in the FA Cup having a go. We did that in the second-half, not so much in the first-half. The fans were brilliant and it was a great atmosphere created today. We are very thankful for the fans that we have.”

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