Brentford skipper Harlee Dean on today’s Emirates FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea
Harlee Dean had no complaints that the better side won as Premier League leaders Chelsea cruised into the last 16 of the Emirates FA Cup with a 4-0 win over The Bees at Stamford Bridge. The home side scored twice in each half, Willian and Pedro before the break, Branislav Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi after it, with Harlee admitting that The Blues were worth their passage into Round Five.
Speaking to Bees Player after the game, Harlee said: “It was a difficult afternoon as they were all good players playing. They moved the ball really fast. We had a few chances: I had a header and Nico Yennaris and Lasse Vibe had chances. Goals change games and they scored theirs. Second-half was what the gaffer wanted us to do. He thought we showed them a little bit too much respect in the first-half. The first 20 minutes of the second-half we really got at them but didn’t really threaten. We always knew that we were going to be defending. The speed of their movement and the timing of their passes is why they are top of the Premier League. They were by far the better team and deserved the win. I am not sure if they got out of third or fourth gear but they still did a job.”
Despite the scoreline, Harlee believes that The Bees players’ could hold their heads up after the game. With only Andreas Bjelland and Lasse Vibe aged over 25 in the Brentford starting line-up, Harlee thought today was a good chance to test The Bees' Premier League potential against the league leaders and he was pleased with how the team acquitted themselves.
“It was tough but it was enjoyable,” said Harlee. “The atmosphere and seeing how many fans we had here was good and we got to test ourselves against the best. The scoreline might suggest otherwise but when you were out there you didn’t feel there was a huge difference between us. We have got players who are definitely good enough to make the step up. A lot of players can hold their heads up high today even though we lost 4-0. We have no shame and no regrets really so that is good.”
Harlee was the sole survivor from the team that lost by the same scoreline at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup four years ago. Having progressed from League One to the Championship during his time at Griffin Park, Harlee said the next ambition is to be coming to places like Stamford Bridge as league opponents.
“That step up has been down to our success but we don’t want to rest now,” said Harlee. “We want to come to places like Stamford Bridge every week. That is where the club want to go so we have to try and make that happen. We haven’t really set a target until the end of the season. We are just going to approach every game as it comes, try and put performances in, and win games.”