Pontus Jansson talked up the influence of superstar Christian Eriksen on the Brentford squad but declared him “one of us” after he took another step on his incredible comeback journey with a key role in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Norwich.
The Danish playmaker made his first competitive start in almost nine months and helped the Bees end their eight-match Premier League run without a victory in the process.
Eriksen’s fine first-half corner was flicked on to create the opener for Ivan Toney, who would complete his hat-trick with two spot-kicks after the break.
While Toney walked away with the match ball, it was another special day for Eriksen. The 30-year-old made his Brentford debut as a substitute against Newcastle last month but stepped it up to a notch with a 90-minute performance in Norfolk that showcased his quality despite a cardiac arrest last summer.
“We are so happy that he can play football first of all,” captain Jansson said.
“Christian’s such a nice guy and character. He’s a superstar, if you can say that, but he is one of us. We are so happy to have him here.
“He is top class and to have him on the pitch gives us something. He will grow from here.
“It was probably not his best performance in his life but it was just enough for us to have him on the pitch, that makes all of us grow, not only him but everyone.”
In a twist of fate, Eriksen was joined at Carrow Road by referee Anthony Taylor, who had been the main official on June 12 when he collapsed in Denmark’s Euro 2020 match with Finland.
There was no special treatment with the Brentford number 21 cautioned at the end of the first half for a cynical foul on Brandon Williams, which saw the Norwich defender initially furious before it clicked who he was laying on and a hug rather than several expletives were given to Eriksen instead.
Jansson added: “Everyone likes and loves him. It helps us to have him here.”
Eriksen’s full debut coincided with Brentford rediscovering their winning touch having been without a top flight success since January 2.
A run of eight defeats out of nine in all competitions seemed to have badly hit the confidence of Thomas Frank’s men, who have largely been used to win since he replaced Dean Smith in 2018.
“We almost forgot the feeling of winning a football game, it is probably the best feeling in the world so of course very nice,” Jansson admitted after success at bottom side Norwich.
“It is something new for almost all of us as in my life I never lost more than one or two games in a row and then we have a run of seven and lost six in a row, especially with us being in the Championship and always one of the top teams you have the demands to go out and win.
“Often if you lose, you win the next one but in the Premier League it is hard as you play tough opponents and we have learned massively from it. Hopefully if we get a run of two, three or four losses in the future, we have been there before and we will learn from it. That is how we feel.”
Next up for Brentford is another crunch clash with Burnley, who are in the relegation zone and six points behind the west Londoners.
Jansson insisted: “If we lose against Burnley on Saturday then that feeling will come back again, so we can breathe now for a couple of days but we need to train hard and make a good result.”