Uwe Rosler has warned Brentford that they are dealing with second-season syndrome after their run to the play-offs - but says his former club can “surprise the Championship again.”
Leeds United’s head coach refused to downplay Brentford’s potential this term as he prepared to face his former club at Elland Road tomorrow.
Brentford have undergone a summer of major change, replacing former boss Mark Warburton with Dutchman Marinus Dijkhuizen and ripping up the squad which reached the play-offs in May.
United winger Stuart Dallas was among the players who moved on - sold to Leeds for £1.3m last month - and Brentford have started the campaign with one win from four league games and a 4-0 defeat to Oxford United in the first round of the League Cup.
Rosler, who managed Brentford for two-and-a-half years before taking charge of Wigan Athletic in 2013, said Brentford’s philosophy under owner Matthew Benham was “set in stone” - but claimed the London club were no longer a surprise package.
Rosler said: “Their recruitment policy works. They have a record of investing heavily in their squad but in players who the English public don’t really know.
“That is their trademark and they are a team who can surprise again. I know they have a new manager and new players who don’t necessarily know the league. They lost key players and they’re finding themselves now.
“But the style of play, their identity, is written in stone over many years. That will not change. They can hurt you. But they are vulnerable in certain areas.”
Warburton’s departure in May came in spite of Brentford’s top-six finish and their promotion from League One under him 12 months earlier.
Warburton operated as sporting director while Rosler was manager of Brentford and is now manager of Scottish Championship side Rangers.
Rosler said: “As far as I know it was Mark’s choice. He was offered to work under certain conditions which he didn’t want to do. Everybody should respect that.
“I think Mark would have loved to continue but he made that decision and he’s a very clever person.
“He added his own signature to the team and Brentford had a fantastic season. He made a name for himself and Brentford kept themselves under the radar.
“But the second year is always harder and now everybody takes Brentford very seriously. Everybody knows how it is to go to Griffin Park. Everybody knows their style of play. The second season, you are in that spotlight and it’s very hard.”
Rosler insisted he would put any emotional attachment with Brentford to one side tomorrow, saying: “I wouldn’t lie and say it’s just like a normal game but in the end I have my professional hat on. Our aim is to get back-to-back wins.”