Thomas Frank revealed that Brentford’s top scorer Ivan Toney could be out for three or four games, and refused to blame his absence for the 2-0 defeat at Coventry – their third defeat in a row.
Toney had been ever-present in the Bees’ previous 30 Championship games – scoring 24 goals and contributing nine assists – but was missing with an ankle injury.
The time of Toney’s potential absence continues to be busy with two games a week, including a trip to promotion rivals Norwich on Wednesday week.
“It’s a contact to the ankle, it’s not like a clear twist, so it depends how quickly it will turn around,” said Frank.
“Ivan is the best striker in the division,” he continued. “But we need to be able to play without Ivan, like we’ve been able to play without Christian (Norgaard) and Pontus (Jansson), who are key members in the team.
“In a sticky period you need to show what you are made of as a team and individuals and other players need to step up, and we will fight with everything we can.”
Frank felt his side made a good start on their second trip to St Andrews this season, but that Coventry’s penalty changed the game.
He said: “After the 1-0 goal we lacked belief. After the first 20 minutes, when we were really good, then we conceded that goal and it was another mountain to climb. And the younger players didn’t have some of the older boys to look to, so then it’s a little bit tougher.
“It’s not impossible, but they need to learn and they need to grow – and they need to grow quick some of the young boys.”
He added: “As I said to the players, we don’t become a bad team overnight, but we are in a sticky patch. It’s not because we have become less good, but we are not performing as good with the ball.”
Frank made five changes because of various injuries, as he explained: “We rested Ethan at QPR so he came back, Josh (Dasilva) has a minor hip issue, Henrik (Dalsgaard) is struggling with different things so we’d planned to rest him, Marcus (Forss) came in for the injury to Ivan, and Bryan played instead of Tarique, who had a minor injury issue, plus we wanted to change the front three in terms of the hard programme.”
Frank added there was no news yet on the injury to Rico Henry, who went off during the second half.