Brentford: Thomas Frank praises defence in Brighton draw and gives hint over Bryan Mbeumo role

Happy: Thomas Frank (Getty Images)
Happy: Thomas Frank (Getty Images)

Thomas Frank praised Brentford’s defence following their goalless draw with Brighton on Wednesday night.

The stalemate was the Bees' first clean sheet in eight fixtures and the first time since October they have picked up points in back-to-back Premier League fixtures.

After the match, Frank heaped praise on Brentford’s back line.

“I am very, very pleased,” he told reporters. “It was well deserved in many ways. Sometimes you get clean sheets when you give an xG (expected goals) of three away.”

“I am in general happy because the three centre-backs are growing to be stronger and stronger.”

The Danish boss singled out Kristoffer Ajer for his impressive performance, adding: “He was really good. I think he’s really been growing this season and for me he was man of the match today.”

Despite the defensive improvement, Brentford’s attack looked stale, only forcing Bart Verbruggen into two routine saves.

Brentford survived a VAR call for a Brentford penalty (John Walton/PA Wire)
Brentford survived a VAR call for a Brentford penalty (John Walton/PA Wire)

Ivan Toney, who scored three times against Brighton last season, saw his dry streak extend to seven matches.

Frank opted to pair Toney with Yoane Wissa over Bryan Mbeumo, who is still waiting for his first start since picking up an ankle injury in the reverse fixture in December.

“Bryan is a key player for us,” Frank commented. “He was very close to a start.

“Ivan is our best offensive player and when we play with two there is one spot next to him, and I think Wissa has done well.

“So I think he deserved to get another start. It’s just good to have good players pushing each other but of course I want Bryan in the team.”

A key talking point in the draw was the referee’s decision to ignore VAR's suggestion to give Brighton a late first-half penalty for Wissa’s tug on Lewis Dunk.

Referee Andy Madley stuck with his on-field decision when reviewing footage on the pitch-side monitor, only the second instance this has occurred in the Premier League this season.

Frank described Madley’s decision as “fantastic”, adding: “Andy was good today overall. I think there were a lot of tricky situations but overall he was good.”

Brentford are still winless in nine Premier League matches. They sit in 15th, six points above Luton in the relegation zone.

The west London side travel to Aston Villa next as they seek their first Premier League win since a 2-0 win over Wolves in February.