Dean Smith has come under fire from Brentford fans after the 2-1 defeat to Charlton but, in my opinion, judgement should be reserved until next season.

His tactics have come under fire, notably when Sam Saunders replaced Sergi Canos, and he has overseen just two wins since the start of the year.

While Smith must take some of the criticism for the Bees' poor form, I believe there are other factors at play.

Below are a list of issues that I believe must be considered when it comes to forming an opinion on where the club are now.


Departed: Toumani Diagouraga

Since the former Walsall boss was appointed, the Bees have seen their squad made thinner by the departures of James Tarkowski and Toumani Diagouraga. Due to injury, I'm considering Jota as a summer 2015 exit.

The club have not replaced either of them leaving a lighter squad. Indeed, they've not replaced Andre Gray, Jonathan Douglas' influence on the pitch and Tony Craig's character in the dressing room either.

Recruitment is not just down to what Smith wants; it is done through the co-directors of football Phil Giles and Rasmus Ankersen.

It is fair to say that last summer's recruitment strategy, overall, was a failure. The club have been in weaker positions by the end of the past two transfer windows than at the start.

Smith's tactics

Withdrawn: Sergi Canos

His substitutions, in particular bringing on Sam Saunders for Sergi Canos, were met with derision but these highlight the change in personnel at Brentford.

The 19-year-old, in my view, was beginning to tire and fresh legs were needed.

If you don't bring on Saunders, who do you replace him with, bearing in mind Lasse Vibe had already been brought on? Philipp Hofmann? Alan McCormack? Konstantin Kerschbaumer? Jack O'Connell?

The only attacking alternative to Saunders was Hofmann, who came on for Josh McEachran on 82 minutes.

Bringing the German on at that point in time would have necessitated a change in system and it is still a question as to whether the move would have worked.

Would Lee Carsley have done better?

Manager of the Month: Lee Carsley

One criticism I keep hearing is 'Lee Carsley would have done better.' With regards to this, I feel he would have but his job description was different from that of Smith's.

Carsley was placed in charge 'for the rest of the season' and this means he and the club are able to take a short-term approach.

The former boss made it clear that he didn't want the job permanently and would rather not be in charge of a senior side, which is why the club made the move to bring Smith in.

The head coach signed a two and a half year deal with the club, which means he, and the club, have to take a longer term view.

Carsley also has Toumani Diagouraga and James Tarkowski available in every game he was in charge of, bar when the centre back was suspended for Birmingham.

It would be fair to give Smith the chance to bring the players he wants to the club in the summer and then see where the club are at than criticising him now when he has inherited all the players.

Players must do better

Under par: Jake Bidwell

On the pitch, it has been concerning to see opposition sides wanting it more than Brentford.

Since the turn of the year, Brentford have lost to every side that has been involved in a battle, either for the play-offs or to avoid relegation.

The wins came against Preston and Wolves, who are going nowhere this season and a draw with mid table Leeds.

Smith will probably brush it off as nonsense but the cold, hard statistics allow this conclusion to be drawn.

It was easier to brush defeats to Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby off as losses to sides challenging for promotion, especially with the win over Wolves.

But the defeats to Rotherham and Charlton, who are both likely to be relegated come May, means the desire and belief of the squad has to be questioned in relation to their opponents.

Perspective is also needed

Sam Saunders

I agree with Sam Saunders' comments made earlier this week.

He, rightly, said: “We’re still mid-table in the Championship. There’s a lot of negative things flying around. A lot of teams would snap their hands off to be where we are.

“It’s frustrating for the lads as I think the expectation levels were probably unrealistic compared to what happened with a lot of the squad and we overachieved last year.

“We’re still mid-table in the Championship. A lot of players have been sold and the club has made a profit.

“The players here are gaining the experience needed to become the players the club signed.

“You’ve got to give these players chances to make mistakes as that’s the only way they’re going to learn. Us looking safe is the ideal opportunity for it.”

It is a lot better than being a mid-table side in League One or League Two and, without Benham's support, possibly even the Conference or below.

The rest of the season

The surefire way to appease the dissenters is to go out and beat QPR on Saturday and follow that up with a strong performance at home to Blackburn before the international break.

As for the rest of the season, I would like to see Smith follow up on his promise and play 3-5-2 to see if partnering Hofmann with another striker can bring about rewards.

Smith is not above criticism, but nor are Giles, Ankersen and even Matthew Benham (although it goes without saying that the owner's heart is in the right place).

Benham brought in the structure he wanted at the club. Have his plans worked this year? The answer is no. Will they work? History would suggest they will but there are no certainties in life.

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Is Dean Smith responsible for Brentford's current form?