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Beesotted contributor Toby Maxtone-Smith wasn’t impressed by what he saw in East London and believes that Brentford need to strengthen in defence if they are to survive in the Championship.

Bloke at work: ‘Saw the result yesterday, what a game that must have been!’

Brentford fan: ‘Nah it was awful, we were sh!t’

This was pretty much how the conversation at my office went, and I can imagine a similar mini-conversation was played out in Brentford-supporting households and workplaces on Wednesday morning. If you want a romantic account of the evening, about the ‘magic of the cup’ and about the wonderful unpredictability of football then this is not the article for you.

Yes, I know it set such and such a record, that most of us will never see another 6-6 draw, but let’s face it – we hated most of that match. It was incredibly frustrating to see us make such a meal out a game that looked over after just 10 minutes. It would have been so easy to see the game out for a 2-0 win. Instead we ended up conceding six and picking up a fair few knocks and injuries into the bargain.

It was a careless (dare I say arrogant?) performance. The gulf in class was obvious from the first minute, but time and again having taken the lead we lost our concentration and conceded silly goals. If this is what Jamie Cureton, Ashley Hemmings and Andre Boucaud do to us, then I tremble at the thought of Callum Wilson and Yann Kermorgant for Bournemouth on Saturday.

‘For God’s sake it’s only the Capital One Cup!’ I hear you shout. Well yes, but that does not mean we should treat the match with all the seriousness of a testimonial. The team we played was a long way from our first team, granted, but in fact the part of the pitch with the least rotation was the defence.

For much of the game Tony Craig, Harlee Dean and Jake Bidwell – three men who have spent most of the last two seasons as regulars – were all playing, and all in their right positions. What has gone wrong?

Warburton does not give off the impression of being a manager who screams and shouts, although he did call it ’embarrassing’ and said ‘we will learn from it’. Some managers are basically nice to their players and others are basically horrible to their players and Warburton falls into the latter category.

He did not get on well with his manager at Leicester, Jock Wallace, saying ‘He was a marine. He had us running on sand-dunes, running until we threw up. I learned a lot from that, never treating a player that way.’

But that defensive performance was just so bad that I would like to think Warburton gave them a proper b*llocking. It was a ‘get ’em in at 6am the next morning’ job.

Will we learn from it? Only time will tell.

But I have to admit to being concerned about our defending ever since we saw off Preston 1-0 all those months ago. It is true that most of those games had little meaning, but there’s nothing like practice and we seem to be falling into some bad habits at the back, the worst of them being passing to the opposition. We are also absolutely hopeless at stopping crosses and tracking men from those crosses

There is also a worrying flaw to our system: we play an extremely high line, but our defenders are mostly slow. At the start of the season the defence was the part of the pitch that gave me the least concern, but now I would dearly love to see a new, quick centre-back come in.

However the main fault last night was not one of tactics, but one of rank individual and collective incompetence.

Sadly though, we have surely come to the end of Kevin O’Connor, at least as a player. He has become such a liability that he is almost unplayable. He put in some decent shifts at centre-back in League One in the last couple of years. But in the Championship he will be pitifully out of his depth, particularly at full-back.

And what on earth has happened to Harlee Dean? Six months ago he was one of the most promising young centre-backs in the football league. But last night he was appalling (despite scoring the equaliser). He continually lost his striker and was getting pulled around all over the place.

There were good points from the night. Stuart Dallas still has lots to learn and his final ball needs improving, but the fact remains that he has now scored four in his last four competitive games for us. Montell Moore also showed glimpses of the promise he showed in pre-season with a mature display.

But there were far more negatives on a night that we, somehow, squeezed our way into the second round. We are a Championship club now, and if we defend like that against Jordan Rhodes, Callum Wilson, Patrick Bamford or (heaven forbid) Ross McCormack, we’re not going to give ourselves a chance of staying up, no matter how creative our midfield is.

It’s time for us to grow up a bit.

We have been strangely reticent to strengthen our defence this summer. I feel we need an improvement at right-back, although there have been no signs of any wish from the powers that be to bolster this unfashionable part of the pitch.

Alan McCormack excelled last year, but will surely be exposed by the best and the quickest in the Championship. And anyway, his tenacity will be needed more in the centre of midfield than it was last year.

Nico Yennaris? I can’t think of a single game where I’ve been genuinely impressed with him.

Kev? Sorry, but just no.

We had a perfect opportunity to buy a new right-back in Luke Ayling – one of the few Yeovil players from their promotion season to really make the step up to a higher division. Ayling, a product of Arsenal’s youth academy, can play both on the right and in the middle of the defence, and seemed the perfect option. But word came out that we weren’t interested and Bristol City, surely at the moment a club lower down the pecking order than us, pounced.

I have already mentioned our need for a new centre-back.

I am writing this just as rumours emerge in Spain that we are in for a young 23 year-old attacking midfielder called Jota. He would cost £1.5m. From what I’ve heard he was one of the stars in Eibar’s team that won promotion to La Liga for the first time in their history. He scored 11 goals in 36 league games for them. If you have resigned yourself to Adam Forshaw’s departure then he looks a promising replacement. His stats are good, he’s young and he’s technically sound (I assume he is anyway – he is Spanish).

However I am becoming worried that we are becoming too focussed on our long-term strategy of signing young, technical players and not focussed enough on the immediate task of staying in the Championship, where we need to be by the time we move to Lionel Road (RIP Griffin Park – don’t think this gets said enough). After all, what’s the point of having a squad of 25 identical players?

We are pulling off coup after coup in the attacking department, but the defence now looks like East Germany with the midfield and attack – the prosperous West.

So I would like a bit more focus on the defence. We will be doing much more defending this year than last year, and I for one would like to see if we can get at least one new defender in before the transfer window closes. The Dagenham match was not the end of the world, but it should really give the team and, possibly more importantly, the management the jolt they need to realise that we can’t stay up without a decent organised defence.

I hope that’s not too unfashionable for the New Brentford.

Toby Maxtone-Smith
@TRMaxtoneSmith