Brentford skipper Pontus Jansson says the cool heads in his “team of leaders” could be a decisive factor in Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final.
The Swede - who spoke to the written media after Brentford beat AFC Bournemouth in the Play-Off Semi-Final last weekend - said that the experience gained from last year’s final day defeat and the arrival of strong characters to the squad will play a part. Pontus was asked about Brentford losing to Fulham in the Play-Off Final last year. They go back to Wembley on Saturday for the 2021 promotion shoot-out, facing Swansea City.
“Last year’s final will have a positive effect on us and we are different squad… and as a team we are a lot more mature with more leaders,” he said.
He pointed to the reaction from both fans and players to going two goals behind against Bournemouth on aggregate as evidence of the calm belief in the Bees squad.
“We stayed calm and cool and kept believing, and so did the fans. That important in a game like that,” he said. “Last year Saïd [Benrahma] and Ollie [Watkins] were fantastic but they were emotional. When they had good days they were great and when they had bad days it didn’t quite work. This season we are a team of leaders.”
He singled out one, ‘man machine’ Vitaly Janelt, as the perfect player you want to look across at in the dressing room or tunnel.
He said: “He’s like a German machine – he’s been unbelievable, the perfect Brentford signing who came from nowhere. You can always trust him.
“Before the Bournemouth game he was eating two white bread sandwiches with Nutella and I said ‘what are you doing?’ He said ‘that is me. I’m a machine. I just go out and play the game’.”
Christian Nørgaard, who missed the Semi-Final Second Leg, is another big character on the pitch.
And Jansson added: “We have leaders everywhere. Christian got injured in the warm-up and we didn’t even care – we threw in someone else and went again. He reminded me that we went 21 games unbeaten earlier in the season without him.
“We just keep going whatever happens. Last year we were a very inexperienced team and only one or two people had been in that position before but we’re more ready for it."