January 20, 2022, 19:56

Yoane Wissa on life at Brentford, realising his Premier League dream and that Liverpool equaliser

Yoane Wissa on life at Brentford, realising his Premier League dream and that Liverpool equaliser

It has only been a short time, but Yoane Wissa has already written his name in Brentford folklore. A late equaliser in September’s 3-3 thriller against Liverpool introduced him to Premier League fans, and a 94th-minute winner against high-flying West Ham came the following week.

“Against Liverpool, it’s crazy because it was the first time I played at home in the Premier League,” Wissa says with a wide, friendly smile that he wears for much of the interview ahead of Brentford’s trip to Brighton on Boxing Day, live on Sky Sports.

“When I came on, we were losing 3-2 and then I scored for 3-3. It’s so crazy because all my family was there in the stadium, my Mum cried. It was a very good feeling because we scored three goals against a big team, one of the biggest in the world and we drew.

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“After that, we went to West Ham and in the last minute, I scored and we won. It’s not the same feeling, but I think the better thing was that I scored two goals in two games and hopefully I will score a lot of goals again.”

The forward has also caught the eye with a unique celebration, sitting on the floor in a cross-legged yoga-inspired pose.

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Yoane Wissa has explained how his goal celebration came about

He explains: “My celebration is about being focused every time. Just stay calm, keep working because all the things can happen in your life and you have to keep working. After, you will see. Just live and you can see what’s happening.”

Wissa had only played in France until August 2021 and there is an interesting synergy between the 25-year-old and Brentford.

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His previous club, Lorient, won promotion to Ligue 1 in the 2019/20 season. Wissa ended the season as the club’s top scorer with 15 Ligue 2 goals. He helped keep them in France’s top flight last term – scoring 10 league goals in 28 games – as Lorient avoided relegation on the final day.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 3-3 draw between Brentford and Liverpool in the Premier League

Brentford were promoted to the Premier League via the Sky Bet Championship play-offs at the end of the 2020/21 season, having lost to local rivals Fulham in the final the previous year. Many of those players are now guiding the Bees through a maiden Premier League campaign.

“It’s good [the squad at Brentford] because when you change a lot of players, it’s hard to keep working well in a good atmosphere. When I came here, everyone knew each other and you just have to come and speak with everyone.

“For me, the main thing is to know everyone here because if you come here and don’t speak English, it’s hard. It’s a new country, new rules and I have to improve my own English and my own personality.”

Brentford have been the surprise package of the season too. Including the aforementioned results against Liverpool and West Ham, there was also an opening weekend win against Arsenal that made the league sit up and take notice.

Wissa believes keeping the core of the promotion-winning team has been vital to Brentford’s success this season so far.

He says: “It is a good team. I’m not surprised because when I came here, it was just at the beginning of the season, but when I watched last year, it was a very good team.

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“They were unlucky not to go straight into the Premier League, but after they went into the play-off, it wasn’t easy but they played really well.

“When you start against Arsenal and beat them 2-0, it’s because you work hard and because everyone already knows everyone.”

It was also second time lucky when Wissa eventually signed for Brentford this summer, with the Bees attempting to recruit him in January. However, he opted to stay and helped Lorient with their relegation battle, before moving to London.

Now, he is playing weekly in the Premier League, a competition he has followed since he was young.

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He says: “It was the right time because firstly, the Premier League is a big dream and it is a step up for me. I’ve have to go step by step but I think it is the best thing for me, I spoke with Thomas Frank a lot of times. I had to make a choice, and I think it was the best move for me. I have to keep working well.

“I watched since I was maybe seven. I two older brothers and they watched the Premier League. For everyone, it is the dream. There are a lot of good players, good teams and for me, I am living the dream.

“It’s very hard because the teams are so crazy. When you draw against Liverpool, it’s good and we played a good game against Chelsea as well.

“Now we have a big fight against Brighton on Sunday and after that, it’s Man City. It’s good but we have to be focused and keep going, keep working hard because if you rest a little bit, you lose a lot of games so we have to keep going.

“Life in London is good. It’s not like in Lorient, but the main thing is that I need get into a routine. It will be good for me and my family because when you come to a new country, you have a new routine. Life at the club is good, I’m very happy to be here.”

Brentford’s next task is a trip to the south coast to take on Brighton, live on Sky Sports. Leandro Trossard’s late winner at the Brentford Community Stadium saw the Seagulls win the reverse fixture in September.

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Leandro Trossard scored the late winner against Brentford when the sides last met in the Premier League

However, Brighton have won just one further Premier League match since, failing to take maximum points in their last 11 outings.

“We are going there to win,” Wissa says. “There’s only a little bit of rest, bit a lot of the players are training. When they came here, we lost 1-0 in the last minute, but Brighton haven’t won in the last 11 games so we are going there to win.

“It will be a great battle against them and hopefully we win.”

And with 2022 just around the corner, does Wissa have any targets for the upcoming new year?

That smile spreads across his face again as he says “goals!”, before adding: “Hopefully everybody will be well also. It’s a hard time now and I think the main thing is health.”

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