Manager Thomas Frank hailed the importance of Brentford’s crucial 3-1 win at Norwich and praised the contribution of key duo Ivan Toney and Christian Eriksen.
On his first start since he suffered a cardiac arrest on June 12 at Euro 2020, Eriksen flourished and saw his 32nd-minute corner find its way to Toney at the back post to break the deadlock in Norfolk.
Hat-trick hero Toney took center stage after half-time with a cool penalty after Ben Gibson had caught Bees’ captain Pontus Jansson with a high boot and scored another spot-kick in the 58th-minute before Teemu Pukki hit a late consolation.
Frank said: “Of course, very important win. I said to the players before the game for me it was never a must-win game, I know it is easy to say after but I knew how important the game was.
“Everyone did, Norwich did, we did and two things that are very important with the win is less noise and the smiles on the faces when we come in on Monday morning will be big, so that’s a massive thing. I am pleased with the players’ character, mentality and coolness in a difficult game.”
Toney’s two penalties made it 18 in a row without missing and took his overall tally for the season to 11 goals in all competitions.
“I think he was not only for the three goals but in general he top performed today,” Frank added.
“You need in a game like this that your top players perform and he did that. First one a well-worked set-piece where he was in the position he had to be and then two penalties.
“The second one he gets himself and I have said many, many times the more penalties he scores, the closer we are to the truth that he is the best penalty taker in the world with the coolness and the strategy.”
Eriksen’s influence was clear to see and he played the whole match on his full debut for the promoted side, who are now six points above the relegation zone.
Frank insisted: “It means something for Christian, he wants to do well for us and make sure we end as high as possible.
“I think he was good but I think he will be even better than this. If you ask him, I am pretty sure he will say he can be even better.
“Fantastic to see him and very important for us, of course he is. I think the delivery for the first goal was fantastic and we saw some of his passes from him in behind, left first time, right first time.
“He had a fantastic ball to Sergi Canos in the first half – unbelievable. That is the bit he can give us, 100 per cent.”
Norwich boss Dean Smith bemoaned the decision not to award a penalty when Brandon Williams went down in the area after contact by Bryan Mbeumo in the 47th-minute with the score only 1-0.
“Big moments went against us,” the ex-Brentford manager admitted.
“We didn’t help ourselves in them big moments. For instance, we knew they were a decent set-piece team and Brandon Williams should defend the far post much better for the first goal.
“Ben Gibson should not give them a decision to make with a high foot and then he goes to ground but on the flip side there is a big moment in the game where we should have a penalty and we are not given a penalty.
“I don’t quite understand VAR at the moment and I am not sure anybody can explain it to me. Them big moments change games.”