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Dean Smith: 'First half we were outstanding'

Head Coach on victory at Stadium of Light

17 February 2018

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Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith was in a good mood following Brentford's 2-0 win over Sunderland in the North East.

Speaking after the final whistle at The Stadium of Light, he said: "It was a good win. Whenever you come away from home, score two goals and keep a clean sheet it's a good win.

"I thought first half we were outstanding, that's as good as we've played for a long time. We looked young, vibrant, energetic. We showed lots of skill and quality, and the only disappointing thing was it was only two goals by half-time.

"In the second half I thought we were poor. I didn't think we played as well but we showed another side. We showed a little bit of doggedness and, as I say, it's always good to come away with a clean sheet."

Brentford looked strong in the first 15 minutes of the game, creating a number of chances before scoring one through Kamohelo Mokotjo. Dean was pleased by his team's determination at the start of the game.

"It's something that we spoke about, we wanted to start on the front foot. I don't think the pitch helped the game in terms of the way we want to play and get it flowing. It was a little bit bobbly so you probably had to take an extra touch at times.

"The intent was there from the off. I think we forced three or four corners in the first five or six minutes. That's what we wanted to do, what we set out to do and we got a really good well-worked goal from an unlikely source.

"It's great to see Kamo on the scoresheet, it was a good finish from the edge of the box. After that I thought we looked very good and created numerous chances, and probably our final ball lacked a little bit. Certainly on the transitions when we broke, we could've scored more.

"It's great that Neal Maupay has got another goal as well. He played the lone role up top today and did well. So it's pleasing that with that first half performance we have managed to keep that clean sheet second half as well."

Sunderland came out strong in the second half, which halted Brentford's attacking flow and made for a tighter second 45 minutes.

"They made two substitutions at half-time, just to give them renewed energy. We obviously were aware of what happened at Bristol City last week, with Bristol three-nil up and Sunderland getting back. We felt there were other goals out there for us and we've had chances but we've given away too many chances in the second half as well.

"Clarkey had to defend well against the boy out on the right, he was a handful all game. We've got to be better defensively and probably on the ball. What happened in the second half was that we gave a lot of cheap balls away, a little bit of technique with the pitch and a little bit of poor decision making, but we certainly held the line well and kept a clean sheet."

Over 1200 away fans made the trip to the Stadium of Light and Dean was appreciative of the constant support throughout the game.

"They were brilliant," said Dean. "There was a lot of noise coming from them all game, and it was great to see the players out there after the game celebrating with the supporters. It's a long way up here but it makes it all worthwhile when you're travelling home after certainly a very good performance in the first half and three points."

The Bees return to Griffin Park on Tuesday night as they host Birmingham City. Dean is confident the players can take a lot from the Sunderland victory into that game at home.

"It gives us a boost," he said. "I spoke to the players before the game, three games ago we were two points off the play-offs and three games later you are eight points off. It's a big week because it's three games in a week.

"It's a good start for us but Birmingham are a tough team to play against. I watched them last week at Aston Villa, and I'm not sure of the score today at Millwall but they will be a tough nut to crack. We have to make sure we recover well and get ready for that battle."

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