Brentford manager Thomas Frank believes Brentford are returning to the high defensive standards they set last autumn, as the race for promotion to the Premier League continues to hot up.

Prior to last Friday's 1-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers, the Bees had kept just one clean sheet in ten games, with their inability to keep it tight at the back a big reason for them tumbling out of the automatic promotion places in the Championship.

Getting up there in the first place was off the back of them shutting out their opponents six times in ten matches from the end of October.

But that sort of solidity returned at Ewood Park, where the Bees were rarely troubled once Ivan Toney's early penalty had put them in front, as they put their loss at runaway leaders Norwich behind them.

It turned out to be a vital three points on the road for Frank's side, as it allowed them to stay in touch with closest rivals Swansea and Watford.

Both went on to win on their travels themselves over the weekend, meaning the Bees remain three points behind them ahead of tomorrow's home game against Derby County.

Frank said: "It ended with a good, solid defensive performance, where we're giving one chance away in 90 minutes, so we are back to the high defensive standards and a clean sheet, which is massive in this league.

"I think we played the game a bit more cleverly, especially in the first half, where we dominated in the pressure and the counter-pressing.

"We were winning the second balls, then we could counter on them.

"Second half, they got a bit too much into the game and I would have loved us to keep the ball a bit more, especially in their half and taken a little bit more 'coolness,' especially towards the end, where I thought there were four or five good counter-attacking opportunities."

Frank believes having a full week to prepare for the trip to Blackburn - a rarity in this congested campaign - played a big part in Brentford's defensive improvement.

The postponement of their match against Rotherham the previous Saturday, following a Covid outbreak at the Millers, gave Frank and his staff that extra time to work on those issues.

"I think it was definitely good to have a week where we could train well," Frank said.

"We believe in that a lot, so that was a privilege. I enjoyed that, the players enjoyed that and the coaching staff enjoyed it, so that helped, definitely.

"Now we've got three points in the bank and we need to take the good bits out of this and train well to be ready for Derby."