Nico Yennaris believes that patience will be the key on Saturday as Brentford take on Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The Bees head down the M4 looking to build on a run of four wins in five over the New Year which has catapulted them to the fringes of the Play-Offs. Up against Dean Smith’s men on Saturday is a Reading side which ended an eight-match winless run with a 3-0 FA Cup replay victory over Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage in midweek.Under former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, The Royals have established a reputation of possession football, something which Nico admits The Bees will have to respect.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford ahead of the game, Nico said: “We have been on a good run over the festive period, winning four out of five, but, as I have said before, it is all about one game at a time and the next one is Saturday. We know that they like to move the ball around and have a lot of possession. Patience will be key for us and then exploiting when we get the chance. If we keep playing on the front foot and keep playing our style of football then I know that we can get the three points. We know that Reading like to pass and keep possession a lot so we have to be disciplined. When it is right for us we have to break and play our way.”
Dean Smith’s side bounced back from a first league defeat in five with a fine 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers last time out: Florian Jozefzoon and Neal Maupay getting the goals at the end of both halves. It was also a fourth straight game which Brentford had taken the lead in and then gone onto win, something Nico said they have been working hard on.
“We are managing games a lot better than we were earlier in the season,” believes Nico. “It was nice to get the goals. We could have done it a bit earlier, but we got there in the end and that is the main thing. We have learned from the mistakes that we made in the past so that, when it gets to those edgy moments in the game, we can look around and we know that we have been through it before and can deal with it. That has been a key factor in seeing the last couple of games out.”
In the absence of John Egan and Henrik Dalsgaard, Nico has had to take on two new roles in recent weeks as both right-back and also captain. Since the switch into the defence and taking over as skipper, The Bees have taken 12 points from a possible 15. While Nico admits that he would prefer to be playing further forward, he understands that there’s no sense in changing a side that is in red hot form.
“It is always difficult as a manager to change a team that has been winning,” said Nico. “I understand why he has kept me at right-back and, as I have always said, I will always give my all for the team. I have been pretty pleased with my performances of late. Ideally, I would rather be in midfield but it is what it is. I like to think that I am growing into the role of captain and that I have stepped up this year when John Egan has been unwell or not fit. I think I have done well with the role and that the boys respect me. It is great for me that the manager and the staff think they can put that responsibility on me and I feel that I am carrying that quite well.”
The Bees will be joined by a travelling support of just under 3,000 at The Madejski Stadium tomorrow. As a player, Nico says that seeing numbers like that following you to away games gives you a big confidence boost and can be a real asset as the season reaches its climax.
“That is what we need, especially when we are trying to push for that promotion now,” revealed Nico. “The support and the backing from the fans will be crucial this backend of the season. They have done it all season to be fair. They have travelled in their numbers and it all helps if they can give us that extra edge. The fact that everyone is turning up every week means that we are doing something right. It is a good confidence boost for the boys because they can see that we could be on the verge of something big here. We just have to keep repaying them for the faith they are giving us.”