Brentford top scorer Neal Maupay admits The Bees are still in a must-win situation as the team prepares to make the short trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday evening.
Three straight 1-0 victories, two of them coming after goals from the Frenchman, have left Dean Smith’s side four points outside the Play-Offs with four games to play. The 21-year-old feels The Bees haven’t been at their best in recent weeks but as long as they keep grinding out the wins, like they did on Tuesday night at Nottingham Forest, that’s all that matters.
“It was a difficult game; I don’t think we played well but we just need three points,” admitted Neal to iFollow Brentford, speaking about Tuesday’s victory. “That is what we did. We deserved the win but I think we can, and have, to do better. However, if we win every game and don’t play well then it doesn’t matter. We are confident at the moment as we are in a good way. We have to keep going because if we want to make the Play-Offs we have to win all our games. We can only think about one game; when we are on the pitch we will fight to the end to get the win. We know that if we don’t win it is probably finished for the Play-Offs so we have to go and play hard, and try to win.”
Those two winners in recent weeks, against Bristol City and Ipswich Town, were Neal’s 11th and 12th strikes of his debut season in England. Coming from France, Neal admits the congested nature of the Championship fixture schedule has been tough to adapt to but said he’s doing everything he can to be in the right shape to add to his tally during the final run-in.
“I have already played 40 games whereas in France, if you played every league game, you would only play 38 games,” said Neal. “It’s crazy but I think I am doing a great job in training, and with the physios, to be fit. I am young so I am not really tired but when you play three times a week for three weeks it is hard at the end. However, I do a great job to feel good and feel fresh on the pitch. I am pleased with my goals and my confidence at the moment but I think I can do more for the team. I am always thinking that I can be better and improve. However, I’ve scored twice in the last three games so I am confident. Hopefully there are a few more goals coming.”
Neal was suspended for The Bees 3-1 victory over Fulham at Griffin Park back in December but has derby experience, after featuring in both games against Queens Park Rangers so far this campaign. With both sides needing the points for their own promotion ambitions, Neal is expecting an epic encounter at Craven Cottage in front of the TV cameras tomorrow.
“It will be a big derby,” admitted Neal. “A lot of fans will be there. They are fighting to get into the Premier League and targeting second place while we are fighting for the Play-Offs. It will be a very good game and everyone has to be ready for it. When you are struggling in the game and hear the fans behind you, pushing you to give everything you have, it helps you. It will be good to have a lot of fans there on Saturday. Playing Queens Park Rangers, the Brentford fans were noisy and it was a really good atmosphere. I also scored against QPR in the cup which was a good feeling. I expect the same on Saturday and I hope that we can get the win.”
Get ready for back-to-back West London derbies as we face Fulham away first and Queens Park Rangers at Griffin Park next week (Saturday 21 April). Tickets for our game against The R’s are available to previous ticket purchasers and selling fast so secure your place online here.