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Dean Smith: "the lads really put themselves on the line"

Head Coach on victory at City Ground

10 April 2018

Dean Smith was pleased with his side after The Bees managed a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

Speaking after the final whistle at The City Ground, Dean summed up his feelings after another intense 90 minutes. 

"I'm really pleased with the effort and the character shown," he said. "To win three games on the bounce one-nil takes some doing. One-nil is a really tough score to win by, I know it sounds funny but you have to show a lot of character. We had to do that tonight.

"I thought it became a little bit open at times, a little bit end-to-end. I thought we could have been better with our transitions, our counter-attacking certainly needs to be better when we've got the ball. Although I do think we could have had a penalty when Romaine was brought down from behind.

"They've hit the woodwork a couple of times, had some speculative efforts but I thought the lads really put themselves on the line today and defended well as a team."

At half-time, Forest seemed to have the advantage as the attacks came thick and fast on Daniel Bentley's goal. Dean shared his thoughts at the break.

"We just felt that they had put us under a bit too much pressure," said Dean. "We gave the ball away a little too cheaply. We tweaked a few things without the ball and it seemed to help us a little bit more in the second half. I thought in that second half we were the team that were pushing on to try and win the game."

Chiedozie Ogbene got his first appearance in the Brentford First Team tonight, coming on as a sub alongside Emiliano Marcondes in a straight swap for Ollie Watkins and Sergi Canós. Dean felt he wanted more from the front line in the final half an hour.

"Sergi's not played a load of minutes recently so it would have been a big ask to get 90 minutes out of him today. I thought Ollie looked tired, he's played an awful lot of football this season and I thought that maybe we could give Chio a go, open his legs up, and also stick Emiliano on there. We seemed to be able to get in down out right hand side quite a lot with overlaps from Henrik [Dalsgaard]. I felt that was quite potent and by taking [Ben] Osborn inside it created a few more opportunities for us."

When Dalsgaard netted the winner in the 81st minute, Dean knew it would be important to remain focussed on seeing out the game. 

"It was very crucial," said Dean. "I think it was important we didn't sit back and soak up pressure. I think we have shown over the last few games that we can hold on to leads when we need to, and we still try to go and get the second goal to kill off the game. Our game management has got so much better."

After making a late clearance, John Egan let out a roar of passion at having saved what looked like a golden chance for Forest. Dean was pleased to see the passion in his back line, especially after Dan Bentley secured his 15th shutout of the season.

"I love seeing clean sheets," said Dean. "It's a great clean sheet record that Dan Bentley has this season and he'll be the first to say it's a team effort as well. Getting three clean sheets on the spin is very good as well."

With Fulham and Queens Park Rangers the next two games for The Bees, Dean admitted that they have become massively important.

"They are mouth-watering aren't they?" he smiled. "We know what a tough game Fulham is going to be. They've been playing some terrific football on an unbelievable run but it's exciting now. I think we've closed the gap and Neil Harris is doing a fantastic job at Millwall and their run is also unbelievable. Hopefully we can go under the radar a little bit and come late."

Brentford head to Fulham for a Sky Bet Championship fixture on Saturday as they continue to hunt for a Play-Off place. Then we will be back at Griffin Park next week, when we face local rivals Queens Park Rangers in our penultimate home fixture this season. Tickets our game against The R’s (Saturday 21 April) are available to previous ticket purchasers and selling fast so secure your place online here.

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