BEES FOL­LOW­ING BURN­LEY’S LEAD

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Pen­man

BRENT­FORD boss Mark War­bur­ton says his high­fly­ing Bees can follow Burn­ley’s lead all the way to the Premier League.

The un­fan­cied Lon­don­ers are up to third and re­main just two points off the top of the Cham­pi­onship after this win in Wales at Cardiff.

And War­bur­ton is con­vinced his young side can con­tinue to up­set the odds, point­ing to Burn­ley’s ex­am­ple from last sea­son as ev­i­dence that the di­vi­sion’s smaller sides can dream of pro­mo­tion.

“I think the team de­serve to be there,” said War­bur­ton. “But our big­gest weapon is that peo­ple don’t ex­pect any­thing from us.

“We looked at Burn­ley last year. They had one of the small­est bud­gets in the league but they did a mag­nif­i­cent job.

“Every­body kept say­ing that they worked hard and were com­mit­ted but no­body spoke about their qual­ity.

“Ev­ery­one says the same about us and that’s great. We’ll just go about our business qui­etly and come May I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The vis­i­tors raced into a 3-0 lead after just 33 min­utes at the Cardiff City Sta­dium as the Blue­birds failed to deal with the livewire trio of Alex Pritchard, An­dre Gray and Jota.

Pritchard, on loan from Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, opened the scor­ing on 11 min­utes as he fired con­fi­dently into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net after Ben Turner, Bruno Manga and Peter Whit­ting­ham had all failed to clear the dan­ger.

And the Eng­land un­der-21 mid­fielder made the sec­ond with a de­fence-split­ting pass that was ex­pertly lifted over David Mar­shall by Gray.

The third was a stun­ning in­di­vid­ual goal from Jota as he took aim from the cor­ner of the box and curled the ball into the far cor­ner, giv­ing Mar­shall no chance.

That pro­voked a cho­rus of boos from the frus­trated home fans, who had seen their side cre­ate pre­cious lit­tle in the open­ing stages.

Adam Le Fon­dre saw one close-range ef­fort de­flected wide and Fed­erico Macheda headed over from eight yards out but Span­ish star Jota was de­nied twice more by Mar­shall at the other end.

Things could only get bet­ter for the hosts after the break and they quickly did as Craig Noone headed home a cross from im­pres­sive young­ster Kadeem Har­ris.

Their tails up, Rus­sell Slade’s men poured for­ward and when sub­sti­tute Ken­wyne Jones slot­ted in a sec­ond with 15 min­utes re­main­ing the home fans sensed their side could res­cue a point.

But Brent­ford held on com­fort­ably enough for a win that their first-half dom­i­nance de­served.

“The first half we were very good and we have to learn from the sec­ond half,” added War­bur­ton.

“We knew the on­slaught would come and it was a real test but we stood up to it and the win was de­served.”

Slade sym­pa­thised with the home fans who vented their frus­tra­tions de­spite a spir­ited sec­ond-half show­ing.

“I can only apol­o­gise for the first half. I’m as frus­trated as they are,” said the Blue­birds boss.

“That lack of con­sis­tency at the mo­ment is an­noy­ing be­cause we gave our­selves a moun­tain to climb.We need to care for 90 min­utes.

“The sec­ond 45 is great but we were 3-0 down at half-time.

“We can’t just do it for half an hour or 45 min­utes.We didn’t look like a unit in the first pe­riod.

“There’s two ways you can go at half-time and we fought hard after the break.

“But for all the spirit we showed this week and at Bournemouth last week we’ve picked up zero points and that’s what counts at the end.

“As we at­tempt to progress there will be side­ways steps along the jour­ney.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

GRAY DAY: Brent­ford striker An­dre Gray puts the Bees 2-0 ahead

ALL IN: Jota cel­e­brates his goal

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