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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories – #ThomasFrank does not want to get carried away with praises and admires #DavidMoyes work at West Ham #WHUFC #BrentfordFC

Thomas Frank

I know obviously on the first day of the season you beat Arsenal, but how much did last weekend prove to the players that you belong in this division because it’s fine, you telling them that they do, but results and performances like that, you know, confirm it to them, don’t they?

Yeah, definitely. There was a confident boost, but I think the most promising is that we’ve been very consistent in our performances, so that was the 6th performance in a row where we performed well in terms of competed on and off the ball, good work ethic, pressing forward. All that and we did it against top of the league Liverpool and just to put it in perspective, our performance.

You could see how what they did to Porto in the Champions League and as far as I know Porto is not a bad side and of course this gives us something, but you know, it’s always the next game. We need to perform again, on Sunday and hopefully to get something out of the game.

On Monday night, Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry were both full of praise for the way Brentford have played all season. Jamie Carragher said: “You’re a breath of fresh air. You’ve been outstanding.” Do you listen to stuff like that or do you block that out?

I think all people like to be acknowledged and like a little bit of praise. So, I think when people are saying that not, I don’t think that I don’t think that they are telling the truth so of course, it’s nice to hear the praise, but I’m always a little bit worried. We’ve played six games, it’s a long season. We need to continue working hard and performing, but we’ve done it so far well, but we need to continue.

Because the balancing act is that praise doesn’t go to people’s heads? But looking at the Brentford team and it strikes many as the group of players that wouldn’t let it go to their heads?

Yes, I think that’s right and I think for me, the indicator is always the next training, for example. It’s not if they’re coming in smiling and a little bit more joking and we need that energy, but it’s what we do out there. If they train with 100% commitment, work hard, the numbers are good, top attitude – it’s been a really good training week, so that’s the indicator I’m always looking at.

In terms of your opponents on Sunday, how much are they a sort of blueprint for what can be achieved in the Premier League by establishing yourself in the division? Adding in a couple of players and suddenly they’re playing in Europe and winning. I’m sure you watched them last night?

Yes, I watched them last night and I want to praise the club of course West Ham, but I think David Moyes; I haven’t read everything that’s been written about him in recent years but it just shows with his coaching staff and staff around him – what a great coach he is and I’m really, really pleased for him. We have one of these coaches that have been in the game, and is soon to pass a fantastic mark of 1000 games. He did an unbelievable job at Everton, did a fantastic job in Preston and suddenly because maybe it didn’t work out that well in United and in recent years, it’s maybe not that easy to take over after Sir Alex and then suddenly you know it seems like.

He was not recognised as a proper coach and what he’s done in West Ham, is fantastic. He’s taking him to the second-best position. The way they play, they have solid players in all positions. They got into the top six which is remarkable honestly, and they just continue this year and they now have six points in the Europa League, so I think it’s a remarkable job and I think it deserves so much praise.

One thing to pick up on was the goal scoring being spread throughout the team. You’ve had seven goal scorers now in the Premier League, after that fabulous draw with Liverpool. How important is it that you have goals coming from everywhere and not just Ivan Toney?

I think that’s very important. I think it’s the most tricky thing in Premier League is to score goals. We all know that it’s not easy, but it’s easier to set a very defensive side up and defend well, but where do the goals come from? We know Ivan is the go-to guy. We know Bryan Mbeumo can score goals, but also need to come from from the different positions so I’m pleased with that.

In terms of the start, we all know how fabulous it’s been six games in in the Premier League., just one defeat. How confident were you preseason that it would be this good?

I always believe in my team and my players and so of course it’s easy to say that I was confident that we could compete at this level, but competing is one thing compared to 38 games so I’m pleased that it showed that we can. The big thing is, keep the energy and the performances up there constantly every single game, I think that’s the biggest challenge.

You spoke about Michail Antonio, saying he’s a handful. How then do you go about trying to stop that handful?

It needs to be the team that tries to stop him. We know when he’s in his one-on-one situations with space around him, it’s really difficult but I think he shows different skill sets, so it’s not only in the duels and the running down the side channel, but I also think in the box he’s finding good positions and finding them better and better.

So, it’s a combination of closing down the resources into him and then in situations when he’s on the ball how we handle that.

Said Benrahma is obviously a player that you know well as well. It looks as though it’s starting to come together for him at West Ham, scoring his fourth goal of the season yesterday?

Yeah, I’m so pleased that he’s doing well. He had a first, maybe in a more trouble, season or whatever you would say it. It was not a bad season, but it was not through the roof season. I think it’s natural you’re coming into a new club and your manager. You need to find your feet, but I’m so pleased that in his second season, that he seems to be a regular starter.

I always thought of his abilities on the ball, were Premier League class, and he showed that his one v one and his goal scoring is at a very, very high level so we are so pleased that he’s doing well. Of course, I’m texting him once in a while, and we’re having contact with each other, so I hope he’s doing very well except on Sunday, of course.

It’s clear what a difference the home fans make for you, but you’re unbeaten away so far in the Premier League this season as well. How much does that please you?

No matter what kind of league you want to compete in, especially the Premier League, you need to be able to get points away from home as well. I’m pleased that we looked very solid and I’m convinced we will look very solid on Sunday as well, we know will be tricky with their front four. That’s the good knowledge and confidence to know that we can go there and that we know we can perform.

He’s [Benrahma] a pretty individual player. He’s got this sort of skills, the skill sets that he’s got, what he brings to a game. It’s very unique to him, you talk about “How do you stop Miguel Antonio?” How do you stop Said?

Yeah, I think it’s the same. I think you know we definitely need; you know every single time he’s on the ball in the last third, we need to double up on him because his one-on-one skills are so good, he would just go past you every single time – but you’ll always be able to release across, which will be extremely dangerous as well so that’s, of course around the box.

You know, we’ve got the abilities to put through top corner as well, but he [Said] will definitely be one of them and we need to be aware of, but as I said, their front four are really good players in this league.

Making a comparison, maybe between what you do and what David [Moyes] has done at West Ham United in regards to say recruitment, looking sort of outside the box looking in divisions maybe below where they are. Said was one, Jarrod Bowen another. Looking into Europe and maybe finding players, such as Tomas Soucek? Recruitment is such an important facet of building a squad, for a first team coach to use?

Definitely, I think. I don’t know how all the other clubs are structured. I can speak about us [Brentford] and Liverpool from the outside, and West Ham has done a really good job in terms of that. I think there’s three key things if you want to have a real well-run club.

I think we need to have a fantastic culture and that takes time to build that, with the right staff and the right players around it and you can destroy it in two months, but that’s very important.

Then, you need to have to find a style of play, how you want to want to play, and from that style or that is heavily linked with both culture, but especially with recruitment, so you know what kind of types you want to recruit in the different positions and that’s why I think the head coach or the manager needs to be very, very involved in that because you need to feel what kind of players you want to put on the pitch

You need to have a fantastic aligned group of people behind him and in us; in our case it’s Matthew [Benham] and our two sporting directors Rasmus [Ankersen] and Phil [Giles], and our head of recruitment in Lee Dykes and all his fantastic staff members and all that needs to be gelled together and aligned in the way we want to do it, and that also takes time and conversations, so we can be as sharp as possible.

Every game in the Premier League obviously is going to be a very special game this season, especially for the fans, but obviously for you and your squad. Are London derbies still extra special even though you know playing Liverpool, Man United and Man City, they’re special games as well; but is it still a bit different because it’s a London derby?

I think it is definitely because London derbies are always special but of course, if you rate Liverpool, I think that’s, you know a bigger club so I think it’s natural to speak about it, but for me every game is a big game.

It’s the same for the players. I don’t know enough about the story with Brentford and West Ham, but of course it was QPR and Fulham. That would have been even bigger because the rivalry is bigger, but it’s a massive Premier League game. It’s a London derby and we are very much looking forward to it.

Obviously there’s another international break after this, and you send your players off and keep your fingers crossed that they all come back fit the ones that you send off. Ideally to go into that with another positive result, this is the second sort of little mini section of the season, that would be perfect for you?

Yes, of course I’d prefer a win, secondly a draw on Sunday and of course a good performance and points on Sunday would be fantastic and that’s what we’re going for.

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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