Grudging Praise – 20/10/15

There was a bit of a mixed reaction to Brentford’s win over Rotherham on Saturday. Everybody seemed to share my feeling of utter relief that we had beaten a team likely to be fighting for their life at the bottom of the league at the end of the season but there was also a fairly widespread sense of disappointment and let down at our performance and the lack of quality on display.

Many seemed to feel that the match was more akin to a League One tussle rather than a Championship match and whilst I can see their point of view I stand by my opinion that it is no use crying over spilt milk.

I am certainly not too happy about where we are and how poorly we compare in so many ways with last season but I am also under no illusions and fully expect our recovery to be gradual and tortuous and it was totally unrealistic to expect a display of total football played with freedom and abandon given the nerves, lack of confidence and gloomy atmosphere that pervaded Griffin Park before Saturday’s match.

Michael Ohl had also managed his expectations:

As you rightly said Greville it was a win. Also, we didn’t have majority possession, yet still won, and I’ll settle for that. Yennaris, Swift and Woods impressed. We didn’t give away goals – their equaliser was unstoppable, although we did rely on Button, yet again.

There was more passion from most of the team. What mostly annoys me about some of the new signings, such as Hofmann, is not so much that I think they are poor buys, but more his visibly giving up, when the ball isn’t just at his feet. At least make the effort. We are also missing that spark of quality which can turn a game. Toumani can do that sometimes . . . Jota, I really can’t wait for his return.

Still it’s a start. But as Lee Carsley said – there is no time to sit back, Wolves are next.

Alan Dally was more sceptical and scathing:

Yes Greville the win was so important, but the first shoots of recovery? I have grave doubts. As you say Rotherham are more than likely going to be fighting an uphill battle against relegation, yet they were more than a match for the Bees.

I walked out of Griffin Park just shaking my head in disbelief, that how such a vibrant Bees side of a few months ago has turned into the rabble of a team that was on display on Saturday.

We are a mere shadow of the team of last season and unless something unique happens soon, we are surely set for relegation this season. Yes I know we have injuries and have lost a few players, but whatever happened to the proud boast that all the departing players will be replaced by somebody better? The evidence so far suggests exactly the opposite.

If we have to rely on the same people who brought these new players in again, then I have little faith in their ability to get it right the second time around; As they say those who got you into the mess, are unlikely to be the ones to get you out of it.

It is so depressing specially when you think to build on the last three years, we just needed a bit of fine tuning. Instead of that we have opted for wholesale change and are paying a heavy price. To me it is stupidity beyond belief. Still we live in hope that things will change for the better, but I wouldn’t bet much money on that happening.

Richard Poole was just happy with the win and the makeup of our team:

Well a win under the belt is all that matters to me and I am glad that finally we put a few youngesters into the team. We might not have had much choice but they did their bit and now is the time to progress from here. Last season has gone.

As you know football changes very quickly and I am looking forward to our next game. COME ON YOU BEES

beesyellow22 was cautiously optimistic but also bemoaned how far we have fallen:

Another great article which sums up pretty much the debacle of our performance yesterday and the key thing being the fact that after three defeats we finally got a much needed win. As you say Greville, there is no point constantly going over the same old thing week after week, game after game. What’s happened has happened and this is now where we find ourselves.

However, I do have to concur entirely with what Alan says in terms of walking out of Griffin Park after the match, shaking my head and wondering whether I’d somehow entered some kind of parallel universe, such is the difference between the Brentford side that finished last season and the current team we are watching at the moment.

Let’s look at the positives (apart from the win). Our reluctant manager had the wherewithal to revert to the successful 4-1-4-1 formation that served us so well last season. Also, he ditched the Ankersen/Giles Moneyball flops (Kershbaumer, Gogia, Hofmann, etc.) and gave youth a chance in the shape of Woods and Swift with the exciting Canos out wide. And possibly most importantly of all, he had the players psyched up from the first minute, with a level of pressing and desire that I have certainly not seen before this season.

Unfortunately however, that really is where the positives stop. Judge’s two goals aside, we were absolutely awful. For pretty much the majority of the game, it really did look like a poor League One side taking on another poor League One side. Lots of long balls from us, very little in the way of free-flowing possession football and a performance that at times resembled more of a Sunday morning game down at the local rec than a Championship-quality league match. But…

It was a win. And I actually thought that Carsley’s comments post-match were both refreshingly honest and totally accurate. We really did only play decent possession football for perhaps twenty of the ninety-six minutes. We did look jittery. But we did grind out the result, regardless of the fact that it was against possibly the division’s poorest side. We have the victory we needed, we now move onto Wednesday and we hope we can build on the positives of a rare victory.

For me, as we now look forward to going to Molineux, there are three things to ponder on. Firstly, as Alan (and Michael) touch on above, the Moneyball signings are extremely worrying. Yes, they need time to settle into Championship football, but that is quite simply time we no longer have! As has been discussed, Kerschbaumer looks utterly clueless, Hofmann is unimposing and Gogia is no Stuart Dallas. Barbet I like but Carsley apparently does not, whilst Vibe does, I think, offer some quality but could now find it difficult to work his way into a system that now employs only one striker. The point I am somewhat laboriously making is that these players were supposed to be the great new hopes for this season; players to replace the likes of Dallas, Pritchard, Douglas, etc. The paucity of quality shown by many of them surely has to give all of us cause for concern when it comes to the ability of Ankersen and Giles to get decent signings in.

The second thing is far more positive and touches on something you mention, Greville – namely we are inching ever closer to the likes of Macleod, Jota, Colin and McEachran finally coming back into contention. Outstanding players that will hopefully make all the difference to us and finally see us start to play the kind of football we were all so used to (and possibly spoiled by) last season.

And thirdly I go back to my prediction chart that you so kindly published a week or so ago. I know they are only predictions, but I said we’d lose at Derby and beat Rotherham, and so it turned out! I now believe we will lose at Wolves and Charlton, get a draw against QPR, then lose the next two to Hull and Blackburn! Defeatist talk? I don’t look at it that way! Even saying that we will lose all of those games, as long as we can then pick up eight points from twelve against MK Dons, Nottingham Forest, Bolton and Fulham, we will go into the home game against Huddersfield pre-Christmas on twenty points – just ten behind my thirty point mid-season safety target! And by then, we will hopefully have the likes of Jota, Colin, McEachran and Macleod back playing for us again.

So overall, a bit of a mixed bag. A poor performance but a great result. Messi-like brilliance from Judge, but still defensive question marks hanging over Harlee Dean (sorry Greville, I don’t think he’s the player he was last season, which may or may not have something to do with his current contractual situation). An encouraging show from Yennaris (I can’t believe I actually just typed that, but credit where it’s due – he played pretty well) but practically zero service to the forlorn-looking Djuricin (who I still think had as good a game as he could have done under the circumstances).

Let’s celebrate the positives, seek to eradicate the negatives and focus on the fact that things might, very, very, very slowly, be starting to get slightly better. Or not.

Rebel Bee also was not too impressed with what he had seen:

Relief is the definitely the word I’d use to describe my feelings coming out of Griffin Park on Saturday.

The main piece and other comments have covered most of the key points well, so all I can add today are some random observations.

Make no mistake that was a relegation battle, our results against the other strugglers are key.

Thank God for Judgey, and Button – we urgently need to sort out new deals for these two, plus the other key players – Tarks, Harlee etc.

With Woods in the side we did at least have a pass into midfield, and someone who can move it about.

All the coaching and improved fitness training from Lee Carsley can’t hide the backwards steps taken in squad quality and the level of many of the new signings. We got through on Saturday without the stats influenced newcomers who have all been flops so far.

Ankersen’s post match comments were optimistic in the extreme!

We need a striker (again). And if we’d only kept Dallas this side would look a whole lot better.

The division seems more even than last year with no real outstanding sides emerging yet, this gives us some hope that we can stay up.

Over ten thousand fans at the match – that is impressive, just imagine what we could achieve if we had got this season right.

I was pleased with the tribute to Martin Lange, which was nicely observed by the Rotherham fans too. Can somebody tell me if the current Chairman has said anything on his passing as I didn’t see a programme?

Captain Colon remarked upon our toughness – not a word often used about the Bees:

It certainly was an ugly but much needed win. I can’t remember a Bees team at home conceding so many fouls. Beautiful football it most certainly wasn’t but if that is what is needed, then so be it.

In passing, I was sad to see Uwe Rosler lose his job again yesterday but he must have gone into the Elland Road hot seat with his eyes open and well aware that Cellini’s itchy trigger finger would ensure that he needed to be an instant success if he was going to remain in his post beyond the short term. Quite what is next for him I am not totally sure, but it has been a horrible year for Uwe, and one that I would not wish upon anybody. I wonder if he now bitterly regrets his decision to leave Brentford as it has been nothing but failure for him ever since

On a happier note, the Development Squad won at Crystal Palace thanks to two late goals by Sam Saunders including a trademark free kick. Montell Moore also scored a cracker and Lewis Macleod got another ninety minutes under his belt, this time as a holding midfielder. Good news at last!

Maybe he and Sam will shortly be in contention for selection. What a pleasant thought to end upon.

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6 thoughts on “Grudging Praise – 20/10/15

  1. 3 points added to the board will hopefully give the players a confidence boost before the 2 up coming away games.We did look fitter but can’t say we looked any better than Rotherham who I didn’t think we’re as bad as some have posted.I am not writing off any of the new signings yet as history tells us that is foolhardy although Hoffman a player I was impressed with at first looks to have gone backwards and looked poor Saturday and at Leeds both times coming on as sub to give us fresh legs and was week.I do smile when I read about Dallas being greatly missed some have posted elsewhere”free scoring winger”lol.I watched the extended highlights of Leeds game v Brighton and he was pretty poor and was at fault for the winning goal that ironically put the final nail in his former managers ( who rarely played him)coffin and was subbed soon after.He hasn’t scored in 11 games for them similar record with us.These new players need the same time afforded to Jota last season who didn’t comand a regular start until around November and I remember fans saying he was lightweight and could be used as an impact player.Premier league managers are quick to defend foreign signings who take time to settle into the pace of our football even when they have cost fortunes.Looking forward to a trip up the M5 tomorrow night where I think we could surprise a few people.

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  2. No sympathy for Rosler whatsoever, get a grip please – this guy had a monster ego, slated bees fans and walked out on a match day. His football was sterile and he failed every major test that came his way & held back our progress. I’ve far more sympathy for the good guys who tried their best when working at BFC, even when ultimately their best wasn’t good enough. (Scott, Leroy, Forster, Adams all spring to mind).

    Delighted to see the dev squad or U-21’s get a win at Palace – SS must be pushing to be in the squad and Lewis can’t be too far away. Pick up some points in the next 2 games and i’ll start to believe we’ve turned a corner. The division ain’t so great right now, lots of well matched sides.

    In other news our head of analysis left us yesterday to link up with MW at Rangers, joining McParland who went there a few days ago.

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    • I agree re Rosler,could see Lee Carsley making it a third signing for Warbs once the new coach / manager arrives.Cant see SS being more than a sub even with the present injury situation.I am hoping for Vibe and Djuricin to cause some problems tomorrow night as I don’t think we have better to come in at the moment.

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  3. Think you may be right on Carsley and Rangers. And yes Saunders makes for a decent sub in the current squad.

    Burton Albion seem a good club and are doing things right – Rowett has done well and i’d be quite keen for us to have a good look at Hasselbaink if that were an option.

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  4. I think Rebel Bee is being a bit harsh on Rosler.I think he laid the foundations for MW to build on, and but for a penalty . . . . I also recall scepticism re MW appointment, and there were comparisons to Rosler, and at the beginning, not in MWs favour. Post Brentford, that’s a different matter. Anyone joining Leeds, really must know what they are letting themselves in for. And yet Evans has done an about turn on his views on managing Leeds, which makes me wonder whether the word football manager and integrity can be used in the same sentence.

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  5. Fair enough Michael, just my opinion.

    I felt that the upswing in our fortunes at that time were despite Uwe not because of him, and mainly down to MB’s investment and the role being done by MW. Uwe’s negative conservatism really held us back, the Donny penalty and all that followed shouldn’t have happened, as we threw away automatic promotion. Then came the no show at Wembley.

    And as a reminder he didn’t win a game at Leeds, they have a far better squad than his results suggest, sure the owner is loopy but you watch them pick up points now.

    I’d be devastated if we went anywhere near him again, his antics towards BFC fans when managing Wigan and Leeds were ridiculous.

    Integrity in football went a long tome ago mate, sad to say.

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