July 29, 2020 / 9:46 PM / 5 days ago

Anger drove Brentford into playoff final, says Watkins

LONDON (Reuters) - Striker Ollie Watkins says Brentford have been the best side in the English Championship since football resumed after lockdown and deserve their place in Tuesday’s playoff final at Wembley.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - West Bromwich Albion v Brentford - The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Britain - December 21, 2019 Brentford's Ollie Watkins applauds fans after the match Action Images/Craig Brough

Watkins scored his 26th league goal of the season to set Brentford on their way to a 3-1 home victory over Swansea City on Wednesday in the second leg of their playoff semi-final, the last game at Griffin Park which secured a 3-2 aggregate success.

It will be relief for Watkins and manager Thomas Frank after Brentford lost their final two regular season games to blow their chance of automatic promotion.

“I’m over the moon. We’ve had a tough few last games of the season and it hurts a little bit but we bounced back tonight,” Watkins told Sky Sports.

“We came off the pitch angry and ready to go again (after the 1-0 first leg loss). We started the game well tonight and we deserved it.

“It’ll be sad not playing at this place again but we went to the new stadium the other day and it looks unbelievable. I can’t wait to play there.”

Watkins admits Brentford’s stuttering end to the season has been mentally draining.

“We’ve come a long way. We came out of lockdown unbelievably, the best team I think, but then we lost the two last games.

“Emotionally, it’s draining losing when we’d been on such a good run. We focused on the job at hand and did what we needed to.”

Brentford will meet Fulham or Cardiff City in the playoff final at Wembley, with the former leading 2-0 from the first leg and having home advantage in the return game on Thursday.

Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmondf

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