• By Yann Tear

Frank sees top fitness as key to late flurry which sealed Bees' derby win over Fulham

Thomas Frank hailed his side’s fitness as they came good at the end of an intriguing behind-closed –doors derby at Fulham.

The first game back after a three-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be heading for a goalless draw, but Brentford stole all three points with goals in the 88th and 90th minutes from Said Benrahma and sub Emiliano Marcondes.

Although both sides had chances – Fulham hitting the crossbar through Bobby Reid and having an Aleksandar Mitrovic goal ruled out for offside – the visitors did look stronger in the later stages of the contest and their determination not to settle for a draw paid off.

“Our fitness was massive and you could see in the last 15, where a lot of games will be decided, we just kept going,” said the Brentford boss.

“I think we played a fairly good game and it was honestly quite even and maybe we were a little bit on top.

“I’m pleased how we ended both halves – we looked strong and had energy at the end.

“We are going to need everybody. We can only do this together, running and working together. We missed the fans enormously and this is for them.

“Fulham is a top side and they play a beautiful brand of football, but we have improved as a team and a club this season. In general we kept them pretty quiet.”

Scott Parker admitted his Fulham side may have missed the normal advantages home sides enjoy, because of the need to play to an empty stadium.

“Without fans, you’re always going to miss a little bit of an edge to the match,” he said. “I think that’s be to expected.

“I think it’s obvious that an empty stadium is a bit strange and you’re certainly not going to get what we have come to expect when we play football matches, but that is what it is at this moment in time. It’s the world we’re living in, but I thought the players adapted well to that.

“Overall, I was very pleased with the players’ application. I was pleased with their efforts.”

Parker, whose side remain one point ahead of the Bees, are still third but probably need to win at Leeds next week to keep alive their chances of sneaking into the automatic promotion places before the end of the campaign.

“The next eight games left are going to be vitally important for us and next week comes no bigger,” he said. “You’re playing a team at the top of the table, but every week you have that – and the games come thick and fast. We'll try and put in a performance next week to try and win the game.”

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