What do Brentford need to do to prepare for life in the Premier League?

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Brentford secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time after Saturday’s 2-0 play-off final victory over Swansea.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what the Bees need to do to prepare for life in the top flight.

Keep Toney

Brentford v Swansea City – Sky Bet Championship – Playoff – Final – Wembley Stadium
Ivan Toney was crucial to Brentford’s promotion (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ivan Toney’s record haul of 31 goals in the regular season – and two more in the play-offs – meant he was destined for the Premier League next season, with or without Brentford. The 25-year-old is on West Ham’s radar, but the Bees are now in a strong position to keep hold of their star man, unlike previous seasons when they lost the likes of Neal Maupay, Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma to the top flight. Left-back Rico Henry, linked with Southampton, is another boss Thomas Frank will desperately want to keep.

Keep fit

Brentford v West Bromwich Albion – Sky Bet Championship – Griffin Park
Rico Henry made just one substitute appearance since February (Adam Davy/PA)

There is a feeling behind the scenes at Brentford that late-season injuries to Henry and powerhouse midfielder Josh Dasilva ultimately cost them automatic promotion. Captain Pontus Jansson and midfield pivot Christian Norgaard also missed large chunks of the campaign through injury. Keeping his main men fit will be crucial to Frank’s fortunes next term.

Keep crunching the numbers

Brentford v Swansea City – Sky Bet Championship – Playoff – Final – Wembley Stadium
Brentford owner Matthew Benham, centre, is an innovative thinker (Mike Egerton/PA)

Anyone expecting Brentford to splash the cash after their £160million windfall will be sorely disappointed. Under Matthew Benham’s ownership, Brentford have become a club synonymous with innovative thinking. The Bees have adopted a recruitment model which places its emphasis on statistical data, identifying undervalued players, often in unfashionable leagues across Europe, and improving them. The Premier League offers a different challenge off the field as well as on it, but their run to the Carabao Cup semi-final showed this squad can already handle themselves among the elite.

New additions?

Stoke City v Brentford – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
Ethan Pinnock has impressed at the back (Barrington Coombs/PA)

If Frank wants to strengthen anywhere then centre-half might be the position. Ethan Pinnock looks ready-made for the Premier League but Jansson’s injury issues means defensive reinforcements may be on the cards. Some back-up for Toney in attack would also be prudent.

Be Leeds, not Fulham

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Brentford topped the goalscoring charts two seasons running with their possession-based, attacking style of play. It will be fascinating to see whether such tactics hold up in the top flight, or whether Frank will take a more pragmatic approach. We have seen Leeds largely flourish by sticking to their guns upon promotion, while Fulham fell upon their own sword.

Be humble

While gaining plaudits for their football, Brentford have been guilty of winding up their opposition on occasions. Midfielder Emiliano Marcondes naively claimed Fulham feared them ahead of last year’s play-off final, which the Cottagers won. Brentford’s noisy off-field entourage during lockdown also irked a few clubs. But Frank was noticeably low-key during the build-up to this year’s final, instead opting to heap praise on Swansea and their manager Steve Cooper. Clearly a lesson has been learnt.

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