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Interviews

Kevin O'Connor expecting tough game

B Team Head Coach previews Anderlecht clash at Griffin Park

11 April 2018

B Team Head Coach Kevin O'Connor spoke to iFollow this week to look ahead to Friday's match against Anderlecht. Here's what he had to say, including his full chat in the video below.

The former Bees captain started with some reflection on the B team's previous match, a 4-0 victory over Shanghai SIPG.

"I think I said at the time, I was happy with the second half," said Kevin. "First half, not so much, we were a bit slow. They blocked up behind the ball and made it difficult.

"They caught us on the counter a few times, which was disappointing. The second half was pleasing in a way, it's what I expected from us for the whole game. We went on to win it okay in the end but it was a tough game."

Brentford are on a run of six wins from six after getting the better of Manchester United, Chelsea and Rangers in the past month. Kevin told us what he thinks has made the difference. 

"Confidence," he said. "Intensity from the start of a game. The boys believing in themselves has made a massive difference. If they believe what they are doing and believe in themselves individually, then it will just help the team.

"We've focussed on them being positive on a match day. Everything they do, from the moment they go on the grass for the warm-up to the game. Even in the game, if they are communicating with each other it can still be positive even if it's having a go at someone in a positive way.

"We've focussed on that really and it seems to have kicked them into gear and performances have been really good. They took massive confidence from the game at Rangers, then obviously took that through to Man United and the other games. It's a snowball effect really."

Dean Smith mentioned that he had been impressed by the B Team model during a press conference last week (that can be viewed here), which has been consistent all season long according to Kevin.

"It's massive," said Kevin. "If we don't have a manager or coaching staff that are buying into the B Team then we've got no chance. So he helps the B Team so much by watching games, the boys train with him as well.

"After the Manchester United game he spoke to the boys for a few minutes, which I didn't ask him to do. That was brilliant, just to hear his thoughts on the game, and it builds the players' confidence when they know he's watching. They know they are on the radar, so to speak. So his help, as well as help from Thomas Frank and Richard O'Kelly, is massive for us."

Kevin was asked about how often he gets to discuss the progress of his players with the Brentford First Team Head Coach, and he said: "Daily. It's not always formal, sometimes it's over breakfast. We discuss the players that will train up that day as and when. It really is daily, different bits and pieces about different things. We talk about the B Team and we talk about the First Team, we discuss things and swap ideas and it goes from there."

Brentford B return to action on Friday night with a match against Anderlecht. It's a 7.30 kick-off with free entry for supporters and Kevin doesn't think it gets much better than that for his side.

"It's the best experience," he said. "It's the closest thing we'll get to a First Team game with the stadium and the lights. Hopefully it will be a slick pitch as well, with a brilliant team to play against. It's going to be a really tough game and one we need to be on our game for."

The game is being funded by Brentford FC Lifeline Society, an organisation that Kevin knows well from his time as a player and a coach. 

"I think what they do goes really unnoticed a lot of the time," said Kevin. "I know Peter Gilham keeps it under the radar a lot of the time, which I understand why they do that. They do an awful lot for the Club. They provide equipment needed for medical, they sponsor some things and it does go under the radar. So I'm really pleased that it's being highlighted that they are sponsoring this game, and maybe it will encourage more people to sign up to it. It's a brilliant cause and they do an awful lot of good for the Club."

Don't forget, Brentford have two huge derby days to come this Saturday and next!

Fulham are the hosts as The Bees look to close the gap to the play-offs on Saturday 14 April. Then, on Saturday 21 April, Queens Park Rangers visit Griffin Park as Dean Smith and his men make a dash for the top six!

Be there for The Bees, click here to secure your tickets to both West London derbies and take your seats as the Red and White stripes make the final charge for promotion!


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