Brentford B Head Coach Neil MacFarlane highlighted a number of positives for The Bees despite their 4-0 loss against a Rangers XI at the Hummel Training Centre.
Two goals in each half condemned Brentford B to their first defeat since early November in Spain, and whilst they failed to claim the win, they created a host of opportunities against a very strong Rangers side and can count themselves unfortunate not to at least have got on the scoresheet.
Reflecting on the result, Neil said: “It was a brilliant experience for us, to play against the standard of players that we came up against. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the group, I thought the first 45 minutes, without a shadow of a doubt, was the best we’ve played since I came in in the summer.
“Some of our football was electrifying, in and out of possession we carried out the detail of everything we asked of them and it was so encouraging to see the steps forward that we’ve taken against really top players. For instance, Andy King in the middle of the park has won the Premier League with Leicester City, the team that Rangers put out really tested us. But the way that we played in the first half was fantastic.”
The first two goals came courtesy of a Luka Racic own goal and a penalty from Greg Stewart before Rangers took the game away from The Bees in the second half with some clinical finishing.
Discussing the goals, Neil continued: “They had two attacks (in the first half) which resulted in two goals for them which is disappointing for us. The disappointing factor overall is the goals that we lost because we never looked like being carved open it was just the moments that led to the goals. We had a number of chances throughout the 90 minutes, that on other days in the last few months where we’ve been on an unbelievable run, they went in the net, but today they just didn’t happen for us. Overall, it’s a brilliant game for us.
“When we came here and got the notification that they were going to play a really strong side, that’s what we want, we want to be tested against the best and the way that we performed in the first half I think says a lot for the young players. We handled the ball under intense pressure and passed the ball to create numerous opportunities. It’s just the downside of the goals that we conceded.”
It was another impressive display from Finnish midfielder Jaakko Oksanen, who alongside Fredrik Hammar and Arthur Read in midfield, continued to impress. Having spent time with the first team in recent weeks, Neil says he is progressing well.
He continued: “He’s doing fantastic, I thought Jaakko was incredible in the first half. His distribution with the ball was first class and he made really good choices on the ball. He’s such a talented player with a lovely left foot, he’s in and around the first team, he came off the bench for the first team and it’s our job to make sure that the players are prepared and games like today will certainly stand us in good stead.”
The Bees will be quickly back in action when they take on Hibernian’s Reserves at Hanwell Town’s Powerday Stadium next Tuesday and the Brentford B Head Coach is hopeful that Jaden Brissett will be available after he came off with an ankle problem in the second half.
Neil said: “Jaden was trying to tap the ball in at the back post and was caught on the ankle but hopefully he’ll recover in time for Hibs next week. We don’t want to be picking up injuries, but the boys put so much into that game and it was such an intense and physical one that you’re going to get knocks, but we’ll recover, and we’ll be fine.”