Misfiring Mbeumo still a ‘key player’ for Brentford

Brentford boss Thomas Frank insists Bryan Mbeumo is a “key player” for his side and deserves to be in the starting 11.

The forward has scored twice in nine Premier League games – all of which he has started – so far this campaign but has failed to find the net in the past three games, though saw a goal disallowed in the 5-1 defeat by Newcastle because of an offside call on strike partner Ivan Toney.

Mbeumo scored just four Premier League goals last season but hit the woodwork a joint-most seven times along with Raphinha, formerly of Leeds United.

The 23-year-old has been guilty of missing some big chances of late, with the Bees scoring just once across the past three games, but Frank has backed him to keep improving and says he is crucial to the way he wants his team to play.

“I always look at the running stats,” Frank explained.

“I want him to be out there because I think Bryan is a key player for us.

“I think there is no reason to hide that the last few games I have been subbing him off, and normally when you do that they are either very tired and can’t run anymore, it’s a tactical reason, or maybe I am not that happy with the performance.

“But Bryan is a key player, and what he gives us every single game is that he is working very, very hard. To get that from an offensive player is a key thing for me.

“The second thing is he’s always running in behind and running deep, which I think is crucial. In any team you need to have players that do that.

“He’s a constant threat to the opponent and I think he, also, always arrives in the box and that’s another thing that you always need to do every single time.

“The bits he needs to add are more consistent quality in the final third with his decisions from crossing, passing, shooting and his finishing.

“But it’s in him. I think he is a very good player.”

Meanwhile, Brentford will be without skipper Pontus Jansson again for the clash with Brighton but Keane Lewis-Potter is available for selection following a foot ligament injury.

But goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha is set to miss a number of weeks after suffering an ankle ligament injury in training while saving a penalty from Kristoffer Ajer.

Christian Norgaard, meanwhile, is continuing his recovery from an Achilles problem and is expected to be back next month, ahead of the break for the World Cup.

The Bees will be looking to put the misery of last week’s 5-1 hammering at Newcastle behind them when they take on Brighton and Frank also backed his players to show a response.

“I said after the game that I never thought that I would be in charge of a team that conceded five goals,” he said.

“I know it’s the Premier League and I know a lot of teams in the league have done that but because I know these players, I just have such a big belief in them.

“I would call it a freak game against Newcastle because we are never, and I mean never, going to make an own goal and two big individual mistakes in the same game again.

“It may take 100 years of Brentford history before that will happen again hopefully, so that’s a freak one. For me, there are underlying bits we always want to improve but we will come flying out, there is no doubt about that.”