Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith felt his side’s performance deserved more than a point after they were twice pegged back at The Riverside Stadium. The Bees started brightly and were rewarded on 29 minutes as Yoann Barbet headed home from Ollie Watkins' free-kick. The home side equalised 20 minutes from time only for Watkins to fire Brentford back ahead four minutes later. However, Fabio slid home a third goal in eight minutes to level and ensure The Bees had just a solitary point to show for their dominance.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford after the game, Dean said: “I thought we were excellent today. We have come to what I am told is a bogey team so you’d want to be pleased to come away with a point. However, our performance today deserved a lot more than that. It was a tale of three penalty calls: we had two stonewall ones and they had one stonewall. The performance was right up there today. We pressed them and passed the ball but the only thing that was missing was the killer goal to make it a two-goal deficit which I don’t think they would have come back from. To have so much control against Middlesbrough at their home ground is very pleasing for us.”
Boro’s two goals were almost identical far-post finishes with Danish International Martin Braithwaite slamming home the first before Fabio capitalised on excellent work by Johnny Howson to add a second. After seeing one lead disappear late on, Dean admitted it was frustrating to see a second disappear shortly after, especially as he felt his side were in command going into the closing stages.
”We looked like we had got control when we went ahead again,” said Dean. “Romaine Sawyers and Josh McEachran took control of the game, getting on the ball with Ryan Woods. I thought that if anyone was getting another goal it would be us. However, we lost the ball 60 yards out and sometimes you have to give credit. We recovered numbers well but it was a great little give and go on the edge of the box and unfortunately it was back to 2-2.”
A tough week on paper, the past seven days have seen The Bees take five points from a possible nine after a win at Bolton and then draws against Derby County and Boro. While he’s happy with that tally, Dean has told his side that they can’t let performances slip as they look to climb the table.
“We’ve had three tough games at the end of a tough month,” admitted Dean. “To go through this week against Bolton Wanderers, Derby County, and Middlesbrough unbeaten shows how far we have come. The performances have been very good in every one of those games. We are pleased with that but it is something that we need to continue to get the wins on the board.”
It was very-much a patched up Bees side this afternoon with John Egan, Andreas Bjelland, Sergi Canos, and Lasse Vibe all missing. And it got worse for Dean’s side as Rico Henry was stretchered off late on in the first-half forcing a defensive reshuffle. The Bees boss said the prognosis on Rico isn’t positive and is looking to use the upcoming break to nurse some players back to fitness.
“The international break gives us the chance to get some of the players recovered,” said Dean. “Chris Mepham was out there making his full league debut today with John Egan not well enough to play and Andreas Bjelland still feeling his hamstring. Rico Henry also got stretchered off that meant Josh Clarke had to go at left-back. Rico will have to have a scan on Monday: it is a knee injury and it didn’t look great when he got carried off. He felt something and he was in quite a lot of pain.”