Brentford defender Ethan Pinnock said the mentality and togetherness of the team and fans “got us over the line” in the comeback win against Aston Villa. The Bees came from a goal down to beat Villa 2-1 on Sunday, with Mads Roerslev scoring the winning goal. And Jamaican international Ethan insists the win will boost confidence in the squad and ensure they can “keep looking up” the table at the teams above.
“We wanted to start the game better but went behind and it was a credit to the team's mentality that it didn’t get us down,” said Ethan, speaking to the written media after the game. “Instead, we stuck to the game plan, kept in the game and although the performance wasn't the best the mentality we showed to come back and get the win was really important.”
The defender was branded a “beast” by Head Coach Thomas Frank for his consistent performances this season, but he joked: “It’s not something I go around calling myself but when I’m out there I try to win my battles in the air or on the ground. It’s not always easy because there are a lot of really skilful, tricky players in this league so you can’t dive in too much. But if there’s an opportunity to win the ball it’s about going for it 100 per cent and trying not to hold anything back.”
Ethan believes the special relationship between the supporters and players gives the squad the belief to keep pushing on: “We knew when we got in front that Villa were going to step up again and get at us. But we were prepared to fight and put our bodies on the line and when we do that the reception and the energy from the crowd always helps us and gives us that extra few per cent to get us over the line.”
The former Barnsley man, who was playing non-league football just over four years ago, is adamant the squad is relishing the chance to gain ground on the teams above them.
He added: “Coming from behind to beat Villa gives us a lot of confidence. I feel like we're always looking above rather than behind us, so we're in 12th and looking at the fixtures and seeing how close we are to the teams above and. just trying to finish as high as we possibly can.”
The 6ft 4 defender believes his transition into an established Premier League defender has been relatively problem-free, but admits he owes his team-mates huge credit for that.
“I feel like I've adjusted well, but there's always going to be games where it's really difficult when we're under the cosh a bit or I get isolated and things like that,” he said. “But as a team we've adapted really well and the results show that. We’ve been solid so it's not just my individual performance because together we help each other out a lot during games, and that’s what got us the result against Villa.”
He singled out 22-year-old match-winner Mads Roerslev for special praise though “He came in against Man City after not playing regularly and that’s not easy. But he’d kept himself ready on the training pitch working yard, so credit to him.”
The imminent return of Kristoffer Ajer from injury will increase competition at the back and it’s a prospect Ethan is relishing: “He started the season really well and you can see how confident he is when he plays with the forward runs he makes, so it’s great for us to have him back fit again and it will definitely give us that little boost.”