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SWINDON TOWN: Cooper told players to judge promotion potential on Brentford performance
MARK Cooper said that he told his players to go out and gauge themselves against a side that will be playing Championship football next year.
While Brentford still require six points to reach the second tier of the English pyramid after Louis Thompson’s first half goal gave Swindon a 1-0 victory, Cooper fully expects the Bees to win promotion and remain at the level for at least a season.
“What I said to the players before the game was you are playing against one of the top two teams in the league and you need to go and gauge yourself to see how far away you are from a promotion team next year,” he said.
“We have got no right to be beating these sorts of teams, if you look at the players on paper, man for man, where they have been, what they have done, we shouldn’t be competing with them.
“But fair play to our players, they have been very very good at times this year.
“It would be nice (to win the remaining four matches) that is what we are aiming for.
“I have said for the last month that we want to finish the season as well as we can to set us up for next year.”
Cooper, while impressed with how his team performed in the final 30 minutes of the first half, he admits that his side struggled after the interval, expecially when Adam Forshaw was sent off to two bookable offences.
He said: “Brentford were throwing everything. They are trying to get promoted, so they throw everything whether it is 10 men or not.
“They leave nothing to chance. They had one or two opportunities towards the end by putting stuff in the box.
“You know that is what they are going to do with what is at stake. We stood up to it but we didn’t keep the ball well enough in the second half.
“Brentford are similar to how we play, they try to play out from the back so we put three up against them to try and stop that and make them kick it long.
“But they have got some good players and they worked it out at times.
“We went for two wide players that had reasonable pace in (Alex) Pritchard and (Nathan) Byrne, Michael down the middle and four across the middle. Listen, it has worked and we won.”
Cooper felt that his side could have been further ahead by half-time, Michael Smith missed a 13th minute penalty, but his manager was pleased that the system worked.
“We tried to catch them on the break with Pritchard and Byrne which worked quite well in the first half and we probably could have killed the game in the first half.
“We tried to set a trap for them, we waited for it to go in that area and Louis pressed won the ball and scored.”
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