Thomas Frank admitted Brentford may not be able to hang on to top scorer Neal Maupay after the Frenchman bagged his 20th goal of the season in a comfortable 3-0 derby victory against QPR.
The Bees talisman was his usual composed self when he tucked home the penalty to break the deadlock early in the second half following a foul on Ollie Watkins.
He then showed great awareness to set up Said Benrahma to double the advantage, with Sergi Canos putting the icing on the cake with virtually the last kick of the game.
Frank acknowledged that the vultures may be circling for the diminutive forward this summer, but hopes the environment fostered at Griffin Park can convince their top scorer to stick around.
“You can say we are a selling club, but then there are only 10 clubs in the world that aren’t,” he said. “If we do well and players develop, they will always be a target.
“I know for a fact that players love to play here and stay here and want to develop, but what happens in the future, we don’t know. We’re just pleased to be together, creating something hopefully special.”
The German was pleased his side’s approach reaped rewards after a tough opening period with few chances created from either team, with Romaine Sawyers splitting open the visitors’ defence for the hosts’ second goal.
“A game is 94 minutes – you can’t just create chances,” said Frank. “We worked very hard to find the solutions and in the second half we talked about needing to go more in behind them and then we saw that with the simple ball to Ollie for the penalty.
“The second goal is beautiful. I think it was Romaine who played Neal in and it was something we need to do better when teams want to press.”
Frank’s opposite number Steve McClaren was understandably despondent after his charges kept things tight in the first half, and he felt a combination of defensive ill-discipline and a questionable decision to award the spot-kick for the opener proved costly.
“We talked about the game plan and stifling the front three,” he said. “I thought we did that well and I said at half-time I was delighted we had carried on the organisation from Tuesday (a 1-0 win over Leeds).
“The only thing I was disappointed with was that we needed to be better on the ball. We gave the ball away too much and if we can do that better we’ll create. We didn’t. The first goal is always important and they scored after two or minutes. From then on, I was disappointed.
“We lost discipline and chased the game too much. There was no real leadership on the field to say that we’ve still got 40 minutes to go. We chased the game too early and you’re always going to be punished against a very good Brentford team.
“I thought it was a soft penalty. We lost our confidence and it evaporated quickly. Senior players have to step up and keep doing their jobs because there was no panic (at 1-0).”
The former Derby manager now feels that, after a relentless run of fixtures, he has time to work with the squad ahead of the final stretch.
He said: “We’ve just had nine games in 27 days. We’ve played, recovered, we’ve had no work on the training ground and you can see today we’re losing by not doing the basics.
“We need to get back on the training field. That’s where the hard work starts.”
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