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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories – Thomas Frank appreciates Brentford team’s dominant and brave play against West Ham #WHUFC #BrentfordFC

Thomas Frank

Seventh in the Premier League going into the international break, did you expect to be doing so well at this stage of the season?

I am always honest. I believe in the team and the players massively, and I believe we could do something in the Premier League. From the beginning, I knew that we would be strong defensively, pressing forward and being aggressive and also knew if we tried to be brave – that was my biggest message to the players, not only today but throughout all the games you have watched, but of course 12 points – that’s a lot! I don’t set any targets so I am very transparent with everything I do – I believe in that. So, it was a massive focus on the next game, training and we want to end as high as possible. Let’s see where that takes us but of course, we are proud and pleased with what we have so far, and I think the most important thing is that it is truly deserved – it is nothing on xG, stats, nothing through my own eyes. We have 12 well deserved points.

In the first half alone, Brentford were so dominant. You could have been two or three up by half-time?

I was told we are going to a very difficult place, West Ham away, a very good team. They showed that especially in the second half, and the way we approached it – brave, aggressive, take control of the game, well deserved 0-1 up. Then, I think West Ham were better than us in the second half and we struggled. We had to put bodies on the line, we needed to show resilience, hard work, togetherness and the boys did that. I want us to be better but it’s football and West Ham are a top side – then we actually got through the storm, they scored from a corner! That mentality to go for a win is just fantastic.

How important was it for Brentford to show both sides to their game? Especially in the second half?

It was very important that we show that we can play and be dominant and brave in the first half, but everyone knows if we want to create something and get top results, you need to defend with bodies on the line, being extremely good at it and have a top mentality there and especially when it doesn’t go your way, though the ball went a little bit too quick, little bit bad decision in the second ball situations but that’s a massive thing if we want to create big things.

How much was a disruption were the injuries (to Ajer, Baptiste and Janelt), with one in pre-match, in the warm-up and during the game?

I think it’s a even bigger result, we all know we have the lowest budget [in the league]. I am very satisfied with my squad but of course, we don’t have maybe as much quality or as much experience especially, but players are just ready to step in, missing three key players today. The ones who stepped in – Zanka, Mathias and Frank – so very pleased with that and got that win in the end, which you know maybe a draw could have been a deserved one but we definitely, in even games, you can nick it in the end and we did that today. There were three other games earlier this season where we should have won but we didn’t, but so pleased with the mentality.

A quick one on Ivan Toney. Everyone focuses on his goals but he was such a menace for the two West Ham defenders, dragging them everywhere and playing a good ball to Sergi for the first goal?

Ivan shows he is such an important player for us, and I agree, that even though he didn’t get an assist, but what a ball for the first touch to Sergi that created the goal! He is a handful for every centre back; I actually think Kurt Zouma and Ogbonna did well today [they are very aggressive], but he is a handful and the link-up player and worked very hard defensively. I can’t praise him enough.

At 1-1, did you feel you had to weather quite the storm given West Ham were on top and when they missed their chances, did you feel it could be your day?

I thought we got through the storm! Then, they scored on the corner and after that, I don’t think they came as strong and we got opportunities to get back in the game, and sometimes that happens when one team is pushing, pushing and pushing. My assistant Brian [Riemer] on the touchline said to me, ‘It’s a good point.’. I said to him; ‘We can still win it’ and we did.

To go seventh over the international break with two back-to-back big home games against Chelsea and Leicester coming up, a performance like today must give Brentford a lot of confidence?

They should have confidence. I constantly reinforce that message when I say, attitude = confident but humble. We need to be confident, if you don’t believe or trust yourself, then it’s very difficult to create big results. If we are not humble, to be able to put that big work ethic and hard work into every single day, then we can’t keep it up

Zanka had to come in for Kristoffer Ajer. He came on against Liverpool but today was his full 90 minutes. What did you make of his performance?

Pleased. Very pleased that we could sign a player of Zanka’s level. So pleased he stepped in and showed what a great player he is. He needs to be even fitter, in a better place, but it was a good performance.

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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