Brentford duo Pontus Jansson and Vitaly Janelt agree that ‘counter-attacks’ were the key for Thomas Frank’s side to inflict a shock 4-1 defeat upon a ‘tough’ and ‘strong’ Chelsea side in the Premier League.
The Bees came into this game knowing that it was a free hit. They played with the freedom right from the off that, in the end, merited the three points that had their fans jumping for joy, with many predicting their safety being ensured after this latest victory. This win came despite Antonio Rudiger opening the scoring with what nearly clocked a 40-yard range screamer in the early periods of the second half, but that goal itself spurred the Blues’ local neighbours to turn into prime Barcelona in front of goal with the ruthless nature demonstrated immediately after.
A Janelt double coupled with a special goal from Christian Eriksen, whose fairytale Premier League homecoming continues to deliver, was topped off eventually by DR Congo international Yoane Wissa, who had Stamford Bridge in stunned silence. “I like when the players celebrate. Obviously, it was strange as we were working hard for that first goal, and we know how hard it is to create chances against Brentford. They defend either very high and man-mark or they defend very, very deep in a block of ten men around the box. So it’s very hard to create chances,” Tuchel reflected on where it went wrong in his post-match press conference.
“You need to be patient, have a fluid rhythm, be very intelligent and also very clinical to take little chances and have that first goal and break the block down. Once we had it, we stopped defending and gave three goals away in ten minutes which is very untypical and gave the game away for us. I don’t know why. We gave a big chance straight away after the goal, and then the next one was a goal. From there, we did not defend mature enough. We were not aware of the danger at these moments, which is also very strange for us. We got punished. They made the most of these ten minutes, which is maybe not normal. So it’s a summary of strange events, but it’s on us, and it’s our fault.
“It was a tough start for us. We felt a bit leggy, which is normal after the international break. But after maybe 20-25 minutes, we controlled the match, controlled the rhythm and got better and better. We became more fluid, created half-chances and deliveries, and second half, I was happy with the start. Then we get the goal which is normally exactly what we want to open up new spaces and push the game onto our side. But the opposite happened, and I don’t know why it happened.”
“You don’t need to lose as a consequence. I am aware of it, and I am aware that my expectations were not too high about this match from the start. It is difficult after an international break to play as the favourite, dictate the match and break down a difficult and well-organised team. They are a very physical team. It makes things very difficult. I agree if we conceded the first goal and second one and could never catch up, but we were in the lead and in charge. I didn’t see it coming. I felt us getting better and better. I felt that we deserved the first goal, got a beautiful first goal, and I don’t know why the next 10 minutes cost us the game.”
Was it really a case of what went wrong for Chelsea, or was it more what went right for Brentford? Well, both Jansson and Janelt agreed post-match that the key to this specific result was the ‘counter’ plan that Frank had from the off that Tuchel and the players in. the end had no response to.
“It was a very good afternoon and very good game,” the former Leeds defender reflected in his Sky Sports interview. “Today, we took our chances, and we didn’t give away a lot.
“It was a wonder goal for 1-0, and I was like ‘oh no, not again’ because we concede a lot of goals like that. Today we were strong, we came back into the game one minute or so after that goal, so it was a top performance.” The star performer from the day then went on to add: “After we were 2-1 or 3-1 up, then, of course, we tried to stay low and play off counter-attacks, so I think, especially in the first half, we tried to press them high after every goal kick and every throwing, and I think we did that well.”
Will Real Madrid be able to replicate this blueprint in order to inflict more pain on a club that is going through a period of uncertainty amid the takeover wait?