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Interviews

“I am very happy with the beginning of this season”

Neal Maupay looks back on his start to life at Griffin Park

13 November 2017

Brentford’s French striker Neal Maupay feels that he is starting to find his feet in English football following his summer move from St. Etienne. The 21-year-old is behind only Ollie Watkins on The Bees scoring charts after netting six times so far this campaign. After a barren run through September, Neal also has three goals in his last four and told iFollow Brentford that he has been happy with how things have gone so far.

“As a striker it can be difficult because you don’t score but you don’t know why,” Neal told iFollow Brentford. “You can play well and make the right movement and shot but you don’t score. After that you are a bit frustrated but you have to stay confident. If you don’t score in three games and start to think that you are a bad played then you are finished. It was difficult for me, not scoring in a few games, but now I have scored three goals in the last four games. I am happy with my goals. I expect to score more but it is cool to have scored six goals. I always want to be on top and I always want to score more goals. I am very happy with the beginning of this season.”

Neal’s return to goalscoring ways has also coincided with fellow striker Lasse Vibe’s return to full fitness. In The Dane’s absence Neal played almost every minute of The Bees punishing schedule in September which saw six league games in 21 days. Neal has welcomed Lasse’s return and is looking forward to fighting it out with him for a spot in the starting XI.

“Lasse Vibe was injured so I had to play every game during September and October,” said Neal. “It is difficult to play all the time but I wasn’t really tired. Training here is good so I think that the coaching staff and physios do a good job with the recovery. It is hard to play seven games in a short time but I felt good. Lasse and myself are both very good players. When you are in competition you always have to be on top and at 100 per cent every training session. It is good for the team and it is also good for Lasse and myself. The manager has to make the choice about who will play but we have to stay focussed and work hard. We will be better for the competition.”

This afternoon’s interview with Neal was his first in English since joining the club. The former French Youth International revealed that he has spent much of his time since moving to London learning English to help him settle in better with his new teammates.  

“At the beginning, it was a bit difficult for me because I didn’t speak English and I didn’t really know the coaching staff and my teammates,” admitted Neal. “Now I have had time to adapt and I feel good in the team and with everyone around the club. I think that my English is better now and I am very happy to be here. Yoann Barbet is here to speak French with me but, when you are in the dressing room, on the pitch, or at the hotel, if you don’t speak the language then you are alone. It is important to learn the language pretty quickly so that you can have fun with the team and speak to the coaches. I have tried to learn quickly and now I can speak with everybody so I am happy.”

The Bees return to action on Saturday with a trip to South Wales to take on third-placed Cardiff City. Ahead of the international break, Dean Smith’s side extended their unbeaten run to nine games in the Sky Bet Championship and Neal is looking forward to taking on one of the early pace setters this weekend.

“We are excited for Saturday because, while this little break is good, you do quickly miss the games and the atmosphere,” revealed Neal. “We are happy to be back playing on Saturday against a strong team. The group is very confident and we are unbeaten in nine games. We are a strong team. We have to believe in ourselves and I think that we can play well against a strong team.”


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