Dean Smith admitted that his side’s second-half performance was nowhere near good enough as The Bees' Carabao Cup run ended at the hands of Daniel Farke’s Norwich City this evening. Mario Vrancic scored from the spot early on and then added a second six minutes into the second-half. Josh Murphy made the game safe midway through the half before Josh Clarke netted a late consolation for Smith’s side.
Speaking to iFollow after the match, Dean said: “I expected more from them especially in the second-half. In the first-half we competed well but they got the penalty early. I was very disappointed that it was given but they converted it. It gave them a bit of belief, they kept the ball very well and made it difficult for us. I thought the lads problem solved in the first-half, got better as the half went on, and probably finished it the stronger. Second-half we hoped to come out strongly but they scored five minutes into the second-half. After that it was a very insipid performance.”
Dean made seven changes for this evening’s match, sandwiched between Sky Bet Championship games against Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers. The Bees boss believed he had put a side out that could win and felt they went away from the gameplan at times after the break.
“The idea was that the team which went out could win the game,” said Dean. “We made a number of changes against Queens Park Rangers and that certainly worked for us but it didn’t tonight. It looked more like 11 individuals. We have worked hard on our structure when we have got the ball and that went out the window tonight. The amount of times that we turned the ball over and they broke on us was disappointing. It is something that we will look at tomorrow. Both teams made changes so it will be a very different game in the league but it doesn’t take away the annoyance we have got now.”
Among those seven changes were full debuts for Chris Mepham and Theo Archibald and only a third appearance for Ilias Chatzitheodoridis at left-back. Despite the result, Dean feels the youngsters on show tonight can take a lot from the experience.
“They will certainly learn a lot from the games that they are playing in,” admitted Dean. “Norwich City were in the Premier League two years ago and they have some quality players. It will certainly be an experience for the likes of Chris Mepham, Theo Archibald, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis, and Justin Shaibu. It was just a shame that our performance levels in the second-half weren’t good enough.”