Nico Yennaris believes that Brentford have now firmly established themselves in the Sky Bet Championship after a third straight top ten finish in the second tier.
Despite a final day defeat to Blackburn Rovers, The Bees finished above the likes of Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, and Birmingham City in Dean Smith’s first full season in charge, ending the season in tenth place. While Nico admitted that the defeat to Rovers wasn’t how anyone wanted to end the season, he said it shouldn’t detract from another fine season at Griffin Park.
“It wasn’t the result that we wanted to finish on but I think that it has been a decent season,” said Nico, speaking at the club’s Player of the Year Awards dinner earlier this month. “A lot of players who haven’t played at this level joined the team this season and I think that they have done well. It has been a progressive year. Brentford are looked at as an established Sky Bet Championship club. We have finished strong the three years that we have been in the Championship, finishing above quite a few big teams. The only way that this club is going is forward.”
Aside from Sergi Canos’ games on loan at Griffin Park the year before, none of The Bees six permanent signings last season had any real experience of playing in the second tier before they joined. Despite that lack of experience, Nico feels they adapted to the league quickly which is something the team can definitely build on going forward.
“We are a very young team and this year has been very progressive, learning-wise for the team,” said Nico. “We are probably the youngest team in the league this year and our experiences this year will only stand us in good sted for the following seasons. The group is very tight knit and everybody works hard for each other. At times that lack of consistency and experience means that we might lose games or drop points here and there but that will come over time.”
On a personal level, Nico enjoyed his best season at Griffin Park last campaign, featuring in all 49 of The Bees first-team games, the only player to do so. After a tough first couple of years with Brentford, Nico said he has made real strides forward in the last couple of years and is enjoying life right now.
“It is a great achievement for myself and I am really happy about it,” said Nico. “The first couple of seasons here weren’t easy: game time wasn’t something that I was getting. To have gone from there to here now has been a step forward for me. It is tough when you are not playing to keep your head and go in and work hard every day. It is frustrating when you are training well but not getting your chance. I had tough times but I have come out on top now.”