Dean Smith: Brentford boss optimistic club can challenge for promotion

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Brentford have won 31 of their 79 games under Dean Smith’s management

Brentford boss Dean Smith says his side “quietly believes” they can challenge bigger-spending teams for promotion.

The Bees finished 10th last season, losing two of their last nine games.

Brentford’s most costly summer signing was the reported £1.8m spent on Exeter’s Ollie Watkins, £14m less than Wolves paid for midfielder Ruben Neves.

“I think the quality of the football that we play, the entertainment value that I think we give out, is reason for optimism,” Smith told BBC Radio London.

“You look at Middlesbrough and what they’ve spent so far and Aston Villa and what they can spend and Hull City have just come down – all these clubs have means that we could only dream of to get to the Premier League.

“But we still quietly believe that we can go and compete with them on an even keel on the football pitch when it’s 11 v 11 and that’s something that transfers to the players as well.”

The west London club are entering their fourth Championship season having enjoyed three successive top-10 finishes.

“I’d be disappointed and feel that we hadn’t recruited well if the players aren’t putting pressure on themselves as well, and they can all feel that pressure, but they’re players who thrive on it,” Smith said.

“We’ve got a lot of players now who’ve played a lot of games in the champ and they know what it’s about and they’re looking forward to the season.”

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