Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith praised his side for a professional performance as they swept aside Burton Albion at The Pirelli Stadium tonight. It was a slow burner of a game which only really came to life in the final half-hour. Firstly, Ollie Watkins hammered in a low cross which Kyle McFadzean turned into his own net before Ollie grabbed his 11th of the season to make it 2-0 with ten minutes to play.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford after the game, Dean said: “It was a very professional performance. It was a heavy pitch out there and there was a little bit of sloppiness in the final third, especially in the first-half. For all our superiority we didn’t trouble their goalkeeper enough but we thoroughly deserved our win. We scored from a second phase corner, similar to how they scored at our place, and then Ollie Watkins scored a great finish. We were professional without being scintillating and that is what you have to do when you come to a place like Burton, who are fighting for their lives.”
At the other end of the pitch, tonight’s clean sheet was The Bees third in four games and 12 of the campaign. It was one of Dan Bentley’s easier nights between the sticks as the hosts failed to register a single shot on target during the 90 minutes. For Dean, tonight’s clean sheet wasn’t just reward for Dan and his defenders but it was something he felt the whole side worked hard for.
“There were a couple of moments when they got round the sides of us but they never troubled Dan Bentley,” said Dean. “No shots on target is very pleasing because Burton are a much improved team from earlier in the season. They pass the ball a lot more than they did and were not as defensive. We won the ball higher up the pitch tonight and our counter-pressing was excellent. When we lost it, our reactions were excellent as a team. It wasn’t just Dan, Andreas Bjelland, and John Egan at the back; it was the whole team.”
Dean withdrew Neal Maupay at half-time with the French striker treading a disciplinary tightrope. Neal had already picked up a yellow card for dissent before Kyle McFadzean reacted dramatically to a challenge on half-way heading into injury-time. Dean didn’t feel that Neal had done too much wrong but admitted he took him off to prevent a second yellow.
“The referee said it was for throwing his arm in a dismissive manner,” revealed Dean. “Their two centre-halves took turns as a tag team to go through the back of him and needle him. He made a couple of fouls, neither of which warranted a caution like the Burton players wanted. For the team we needed to win and couldn’t afford to be down to ten men, and lose Neal for another game or two. I don’t think that he did much wrong to be fair. He is a calm and collected lad but, for the good of the team, it was the right decision.”