Talismanic midfielder is super sub again
NICO Yennaris can consider himself fortunate Dean Smith is not the type of manager to avoid walking under ladders or keeping an eye out for black cats.
Yennaris came off the bench to hit a stunning third goal from 25 yards out to clinch Brentford a 3-1 win over Birmingham City yesterday.
And Bees boss Smith revealed after the game that a more superstitious manager would be plonking the midfielder on the bench more often.
“Nico said to me when he comes off the bench he normally scores or gets an assist, so I said it’s a good job I’m not superstitious as you’d be on the bench a lot more!” said Smith.
“I thought it was a great cameo for him. Josh [McEachran] did really well, but when he tired I was able to put Nico on to inject more energy.”
Yennaris, a virtual ever-present in the middle of the park this season, was only on the bench to protect his long-standing calf problem from the rigours of two games in three days.
Smith said: “To play two games in quick succession would have been tough on him, so I always had it in mind that I was going to change it.
“We knew two games in three days would be tough for him and decided to give him a rest, knowing he struggles to recover with his calf, and the recovery is so important.”
By the time Yennaris came on to wrap things up, the Bees had already turned a half-time deficit on its head by playing with a tempo so badly missing against Norwich on New Year’s Eve.
By pressing high to counteract Brum boss Gianfranco Zola’s preference to pass out from the back, Smith’s troops were able to clinch a first win over the Blues in more than two decades.
He added: “We knew they would try to play out from the back so we tried to press higher, let the first pass go and press on the next one. The lads were fully behind the tactics and went out and executed them really well.
“What pleased me more was the way we controlled the tempo of the game in the second half. We didn’t convert the penalty but we never lost belief in what we were doing. We kept trying to do the right things and got the rewards.”
YENN MAN: Brentford’s Nico Yennaris