Brentford boss Thomas Frank criticised his side’s sloppy first half display after the Bees went down 3-2 at Stoke on Saturday.

Steven Fletcher’s header and James McClean’s deflected effort left Frank’s men 2-0 down at the break before Tyrese Campbell trebled the lead just shy of the hour mark.

Brentford belatedly rallied and Marcus Forss bagged a brace to reduce the deficit but it was not enough for the visitors, who now sit 11th in the Championship table.

“In the first half, we played slowly, without tempo, without enough personality or initiative on the ball,” Frank said.

“That gave us a mountain to climb. We didn’t ‘give’ them the two goals, but we definitely didn’t help ourselves and I think we can do better in those situations.

“In the second half, we were better. There was more tempo, more initiative, more runs in behind. But again, we didn’t defend well for the third goal.

“After that, we showed bigger personality and came back into the game, showing some of that bounce back mentality we have in the team.

“But it was not good enough and we lost to the better team.”

Brentford did not have happy memories of the Potteries, where a 1-0 defeat in July had seen the Bees miss out on going into the final day of the season in an automatic promotion spot.

They have never won away at Stoke in 14 attempts and their slow start put paid to any hopes of ending that run on Saturday, though Frank was pleased with the impact of substitute Forss.

The Finnish frontman took his league tally to three for the season with a pair of composed finishes as the Bees look to ease the burden on the Championship’s joint-top scorer Ivan Toney.

“Marcus had a good performance and showed we have a good player there who can help us, so I’m pleased with that,” Frank said.

“We know we need two good strikers. The competition is important – not only if one is going to come off the bench, but also if we want to start with two strikers.”

Brentford return to action on Tuesday evening at home to Norwich, who sit fifth with 13 points from seven games having been relegated from the Premier League last season.

The Bees again have injury concerns, with the centre of the park a particular area of concern.

“For the second game in a row, we only had three midfielders available (at Stoke),” he said.

“We know it is likely to be the same on Tuesday and some of them are longer-term.

“It’s a long season and we are playing a lot of games. We are fit, we are strong but it is about keeping that freshness.”