Brentford B Head Coach Neil MacFarlane was pleased with his side’s performance as they began 2020 with a 2-0 win over Beijing Renhe with Aubrel Koutsimouka grabbing both goals.
Discussing the result, Neil explained: “I thought in the first half we were really good, we passed the ball really well, and our high intensity football was good. To come from a period where we haven’t had a game for a while and been consistently on the training ground it’s great for the boys to be back playing games, and as I said, I thought in the first half we were really good.
With the young Frenchman netting both of the goals, Neil says he was delighted with how the 18-year-old performed as well as the whole group’s work ethic.
He continued: “It’s great for him, he’s waited for his opportunity, and the team complemented each other really well in the first half and he got two fantastic goals. I thought the second half was a bit bitty and we made a number of changes which meant the game kind of died a little bit in the second half. It’s expected, as I said, it’s our first game back since 20th December so overall, I’m really happy with it.”
“He (Aubrel) defended well today as well which is good, and a couple of goals will only boost his confidence. I’ve got no complaints with the group in terms of their work ethic and attitude and that has to continue now right until the end of the season.”
Having put in such hard work throughout the season to boost fitness levels, Neil believes the graft that the team have put in in recent weeks paid off against the Chinese side as their fitness told throughout which helped them see out the win.
“I think we noticed (the fitness levels) right from the start when the tempo was set,” said Neil. “In the second half, especially that last 15 minutes we were able to really express our fitness levels and that’s credit to the players. Their work ethic has been incredible since they returned after Christmas and through really tough days to get to this moment where they’ve got their first game under their belts and now it’s onto the next one in France.”
When asked what he and his staff will take from the game against a Chinese opponent, Neil admits he was pleased to take on yet another first team outfit which will only help the players in their progression.
He continued: “I think the biggest thing was that it was men’s football again. Similar to Wimbledon prior to Christmas, and we said to the group before the match that they will have to deal with their physicality, and I think what’s pleasing is that the more first teams we come across we’re dealing with those aspects and hopefully our football will tell.”
The side will turn their attentions to a trip to Bordeaux next week before a week’s stay in Portugal to play three fixtures. After having a good period of training for the young Bees, Neil says the side will look forward to the very different tests on the horizon.
He explained: “I think they’re (Bordeaux) planning on having a mix of players who have not been involved with their first team and then a few of their boys from their under-23s. It will be another tough game, a level up from today, and we’ll have to raise our levels especially more than they were in the second half.
“The block of training has been fantastic for us. November and December we were so busy in terms of games that we probably didn’t have a sustained period like that, but we’ve now had it and I think you can see in the first half that the work that we’ve been doing in the last nine days or so, and long may that continue. A really good block on the training ground, we’re back into the games now and it’s about making sure that everyone is prepared.”
With yet another Brentford B player making their first team debut recently against Stoke City in the Emirates FA Cup in the form of Fredrik Hammar, Neil says it’s great to see Thomas Frank and his staff believing in youth.
He said: “It’s been an amazing 10 days for the club in that respect. Prior to that we’ve had Mads (Roerslev) make his debut, Freddie made his and Jaakko coming on against Stoke. More importantly, the win against Stoke with such a young group, and I’ve said it numerous times, it’s a real credit to the club and the belief that they have in the young players and that’s why the strategy works. The management team within the first team have a real belief in the players so the pathway there, if they’re doing well, is open to them but they must continue to keep improving.”