Dean Smith: New head coach ready for Brentford project

By Rob StevensBBC Sport
Dean Smith
Dean Smith has signed a two-and-a-half year-contract with Brentford which will expire in summer 2018

New Brentford head coach Dean Smith believes the job at Griffin Park will be a "similar project" to the one he undertook at previous club Walsall.

Smith, 44, joined the Bees, who are 11th in the Championship, on Monday.

"There is a strategy in place and we need to think differently from other clubs in this league to compete with them," he told BBC Radio London.

"It is no different to the job I was having to do with Walsall in League One. As a club, it is so progressive."

A farewell to the Saddlers

Smith had been in charge of Walsall since January 2011 and was the fourth longest-serving manager in the top four divisions prior to his departure from the Banks's Stadium.

Last season he led the Saddlers to their first-ever appearance at Wembley, where they were beaten by Bristol City in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and he left with the team challenging for promotion from League One.

"The job I was doing at Walsall was a long-term project," Smith said,

"It is a project I took great pride in and I look back at it and see a legacy there. I really hope they get promoted.

"I see this club as a similar project but in a higher league, and the opportunity to get into the Premier League."

Taking over a revived team

The situation which Smith has walked into at Griffin Park is very different from that when Marinus Dijkhuizen, Brentford's choice as head coach in the summer, was sacked on 28 September.

Lee Carsley was placed in charge following the Dutchman's departure and inherited a side who were 19th in the Championship table, one point above the relegation zone.

Lee Carsley
Lee Carsley will leave Brentford at the end of December following Dean Smith's appointment

The 41-year-old transformed the Bees during his short spell in charge, winning five of his 10 games and lifting them to 11th, just three points off the play-off places.

"I will implement new ideas, but I won't stray too far from what Lee has done because he has done a great job," Smith said.

"He is handing me a team who are playing some good stuff and are full of confidence with the results they have been having.

"It is important the club keeps improving and hopefully I can help do that."

'There is a great match here'

Brentford owner Matthew Benham said the club "didn't get it right whatsoever" when they appointed Dijkhuizen this summer, but co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen thinks Smith's character and attacking style of play will suit the Bees.

"The job of head coach of Brentford is not a job for a guy with a big ego," Ankersen told BBC Radio London.

"It is a job for a guy that is able to collaborate - someone who is willing to involve other people and their expertise in order to make the best possible decisions for the club."

He continued: "We have defined some overall principles for the expression we want to have on the pitch and we want a head coach that shares that.

"We don't want a guy who plays destructive, boring football. What Dean and Richard O'Kelly have done at Walsall is impressive, in terms of playing attacking football.

"We are very confident that on the football philosophy side that there is a great match here."

Rasmus Ankersen and Dean Smith
Rasmus Ankersen (left) described Smith as "a great leader" and "very open to the club's ideas"
Dean Smith
Smith will take charge of Brentford for the first time on Saturday, when they face MK Dons at Griffin Park