Brentford head coach Thomas Frank said Ivan Toney was racking up goals and assists like Harry Kane after a “beautiful, ugly” 1-0 win at Blackburn moved them into the top two.
The Championship’s top scorer made the difference at Ewood Park by converting a nerveless 10th-minute penalty to decide a match which saw Blackburn midfielder Bradley Dack suffer a serious-looking knee injury in the closing stages.
Toney’s all-round performance stood out in a game where he hit his 26th league goal of the season, surpassing the contribution of Ollie Watkins for Brentford last season and Neal Maupay before him.
And, after a third win in four that put the Bees ahead of Watford and Swansea on goal difference, Frank said summer signing Toney was producing numbers only seen from Tottenham and England striker Kane.
He said: “Ivan is good on penalties. He’s playing very well. His link-up play, his pressing game, his ability to create opportunities for his team-mates too, so he’s doing well.
“It’s 26 goals in the league, nine assists. Crazy numbers in this league, but I think it also shows his all-round game because normally it’s only Harry Kane who produces those numbers of assists and goals.
“It was a very beautiful, ugly win in very difficult circumstances with the pouring rain and unbelievably difficult pitch to play on.
“We were really good first half and decided to go longer on purpose because Blackburn are a good pressing team. Our pressing game was really good, created problems for them and some counter-attacking opportunities, like the penalty.
“Second half, I thought we defended extremely well, gave one chance away all game but would have loved to keep the ball better in their half.”
Blackburn remain closer to the bottom three than the top six and have won just once at Ewood Park in 2021.
Rovers staged a spirited second-half push for an equaliser but could find no way through and a bad evening got worse in stoppage time when Dack went down clutching his knee.
The midfielder was hurt in a collision with Brentford goalkeeper David Raya and, following a lengthy stoppage, he was carried off on a stretcher.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray fears it could be another long spell out for the 27-year-old playmaker, who only returned on Boxing Day after more than a year out with a knee injury.
“It doesn’t look good, our medical staff seem to think it’s a bad one and he’s on gas in the dressing room at the moment,” the boss told iFollow Rovers after the Brentford game.
“I’m not a medic, but the doctor is telling me that he thinks it’s a cruciate knee ligament injury.
“It’s an emotional place at the minute, but he’s part of this family and we’ll look after him and ensure he gets fit.
“The players are all hugging him, David Raya is in there as well because he’s really concerned.
“It’s emotional for everyone and we’ll wait and see on a proper diagnosis when it settles down and we can get a proper scan.”
Regarding the match, Mowbray was unhappy at the refereeing but praised his side’s second-half performance.
He said: “I didn’t recognise the team first half. It looked like a team that hadn’t had a game in nine days against a team with a fourth game in 10 days. We didn’t function really first half. I felt we were a bit leggy, didn’t move it fast enough.
“Second half was more like I recognise the team and more like a team I’d expect if I was a Rovers fan. I haven’t got tinted glasses but there’s two penalties, how he hasn’t given them.
“Ryan Nyambe getting dragged to the ground in the six-yard box and you’d have to say watching the Dack incident, David Raya doesn’t see him and last second he lunges out his leg.
“Every week, win lose or draw, we have a poor official. Maybe that’s the standard of Championship refereeing.”