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  • By Yann Tear

'Super impressed' Frank evaluates Toney's amazing impact after eight-month lay-off

It could hardly have gone any better. Ivan Toney's return was everything Bees fans hoped it would be, and then some.

Their talismanic striker scored the goal which started to swing a gripping contest with Nottingham Forest Brentford's way, as his very presence galvanised team-mates.

The timid displays we have been seeing of late gave way to the swaggering confidence which typifies them when their supremely-confident number nine is among them.

His force of personality dragged the Bees to a vital 3-2 victory, which ended a run of five successive defeats - halting an alarming slide towards the Premier League trapdoor.

Made captain on his return from a lengthy ban for flouting strict betting rules, Toney stole the show and boss Thomas Frank was blown away.

"It's all about Ivan. He set the stage, of course, in many ways," said the Brentford boss.

"It was classic Ivan. He loves the big stage. He thrives there. That's why he's a good player.

"It's extra impressive to come back after being out eight months and then playing the way he did: scoring a clever goal, his link-up play, his hold-up play, his presence, his work ethic - defending set pieces too - it was super, super impressive."

The Bees boss continued: "Big players with big personalities tend to lift other players and he is one of our best players, if not maybe the best player, so that means it's natural that the other players are lifted.

"On top of that, his personality and character is immense - the way he couldn't stop smiling before the game, little bits [of conversation] he has with other players, all those small bits are crucial."

"Before the game, I told Ivan: 'It's good to have you back. Enjoy it.' "

Frank added: "It was a big win for us. A big three points. We were way overdue three points. The performance was not that much better than some of the other performances in the last five games that we lost.

"I think we've performed fine, without being through the roof, but it was clearly enough to win, and it was a well-deserved win. The win and getting over the line means a lot for the confidence and for the team.

"We had setbacks but kept going and I think that shows the resilience and the character and mentality in the team that is so, so important. It's the foundation of any team."


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