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Brentford Fans Verdict: First-Half Horror Show Costs Royals

The fans were not in a festive mood after the 3-1 loss to Brentford on Saturday afternoon. Harry rounds up the reaction.

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With the combination of our depleted squad and the attacking power of Brentford, I was quite nervous going into Saturday’s game, and my fears turned into reality in the opening 45 minutes, which was arguably our worst 45 minutes under Paunovic.

Yes, Brentford are very good going forward, and have the ability to put three or four goals past any team in the division, but the defending in the first half was really and bad and, as you would expect coming up against a team like Brentford, our individual errors were punished.

Obviously Rafael was at fault for the opener, Tomas Esteves should know better than to let Mbuemo cut onto his left so easily for the second, and the third was as easy as you like for Brentford forwards to cut through the defence.

It is important to look at every result with a balanced point of view, and we were much better in the second half. Unfortunately though the damage had already been done and, in the last game before Christmas Day, the fans weren't left in the most festive of moods.

Here’s how they reacted to some of the key talking points...

Rafael

There is no debating how good Rafael has been for us so far since he joined. He had some seriously big Emi Martinez shaped boots to fill and on the whole, he’s done that pretty well. So much so that he even won player of the season last time out.

However, this campaign has been a little bit more difficult for the Brazilian, summed up by the clear mistake he made on Saturday for Brentford’s opener. He is, for me, still our best keeper and should continue to be our number one. However, on Twitter after the game, some fans were debating whether this is on mistake too many for Rafa...

The first half

Clearly, this is where it all went wrong on Saturday. The defending was awful and, despite a small spell before Mbuemo doubled the hosts’ lead where we threatened with a couple of set pieces, we didn’t offer anything going forward either.

Brentford are a very dangerous team, but we really didn’t help ourselves and we were punished for errors that really need to be cut out if we want to be towards the top end of the table come May.

The fans were left disappointed, angry and upset at the first-half performance...

Squad depth

It’s clear what Pauno thinks of his current options. The Serb only made one sub all game, bringing on Sone Aluko for Alfa Semedo not long after into the second half, leaving the likes of Jayden Onen and Nahum Melvin-Lambert on the bench as we tried to find a way back into the game.

That could show a bit of naivety on Pauno’s part; surely he had nothing to lose throwing a couple of the youngster’s on? But what it definitely does show is that the squad at the moment is not deep enough.

The injuries play a big part in that, and of course that’s something out of Pauno’s control, but you would still expect him to dip into the transfer market in January. The fans are certainly hoping he does...

Conclusion

I think we need to keep standing back and looking at the bigger picture. Saturday was a bad day, and well have more bad days before the end of the season. But we’ll also have good ones, and when we start to get bodies back and hopefully some strength added in January, hopefully the good days go back to outweighing the bad.

I still want to reiterate that we have half of our best eleven out at the moment. That would hurt any team.

Onwards and upwards, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Stay safe and healthy. Look after yourselves, it will be a difficult festive period for a lot of us.

URZ