Brentford goalscorer Neal Maupay felt that today’s win was the perfect way to set up a big week in The Bees season. Dean Smith’s side made the long trip north and returned with the three points following a dominant first-half performance against The Black Cats. After two defeats in the last three, Neal was pleased to get back to winning ways with a fine team performance.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford after the game, Neal said: “I am very happy for the team as it’s been two defeats in recent weeks. I was happy to score today and set up Kamohelo Mokotjo with the assist so it’s been a good day. We did really well in the first-half and maybe we could score more goals as Sunderland were still alive in the second-half. Sometimes it’s hard to play 90 minutes at 100 per cent but I think we did well today. It is a really good way to start up this week as we know it will be a hard week. Beginning with three points sets us up for the game against Birmingham City on Tuesday. We can build from this for the two other games this week.”
The Frenchman was instrumental in both of The Bees goals this afternoon. Firstly, he held the ball up and laid it off for Kamohelo Mokotjo to notch his first goal in Bees colours with a rasping drive from 25 yards before getting the second himself, with what is becoming a trademark close-range backheel. Playing as the sole striker, Neal recognises that his role is to both score and create goals and he was happy to do just that this afternoon.
“I need to see the video but it is a good goal,” reflected Neal on his eighth of the season. “It is not the main thing for me as I am happy for the team to get the three points. It is good to be back on the scoresheet as I am the striker. Every game I want to score so I am really happy today. I am always trying to find a good position for me and my teammates. I am the striker and I want to score but sometimes I have to find a better position for my teammates. I did that today for Kamo and he scored but I also set up Ollie and Romaine. It is important that I am not too selfish because we are a team and if I can’t score or shoot, I have to find a position for my teammates.”
The 21-year-old has found his debut season in England tough at times but today’s strike was his eighth of the campaign in all competitions, taking him level with Ollie Watkins atop The Bees scoring charts. Neal admits that he is still adjusting to all elements of playing in England following his summer move from Saint-Etienne, but feels he is getting there with the help of everyone around the club.
“When Lasse Vibe was here we were in competition,” revealed Neal. “We played hard in training and in games, whoever was playing. Now that Lasse is gone, nothing has changed for me. I know that Dean has confidence in me but I need to keep working hard in training. You can’t learn English football, the language, and the lifestyle in six months. Every day I am learning something new and I am happy with the way that the coaching staff, my teammates, and the club are helping me to settle. After this season I will feel really good here but I am really happy with how I am playing and learning.”