Brentford were beaten for the second straight home game by Leicester City yesterday. The Bees dominated long periods but conceded in each half and a goal from Zanka was not enough to prevent Leicester taking a 2-1 win. It was Brentford's third defeat of the campaign after losses to Chelsea last week and Brighton and Hove Albion in September.
After the game, Thomas Frank spoke to the written press via a video call. Jim Levack, who has covered Brentford for many years for Press Association, among others, reports on what Thomas had to say..........
‘We should be unbeaten’
"I know the momentum in games can change if you score, but if you look at the overall situations and performances so far we should not have lost a game in the Premier League, which is impressive. And no one will argue against that, which is crazy. That says everything about our performances, and I think we’ve got a little bit better throughout, and the way we dominated Leicester in the first half, that is extremely impressive.
"Our performances so far have been more or less spot on. If you look at the three games where we’ve lost at home, we should have won against Leicester and Chelsea and Brighton should definitely have been a draw, so that’s just the fine margins of football.”
Pride in the performance
“I was very proud of the players. They performed very well and we are winning that game seven out of ten times… and that’s against a side that was fifth in the Premier League last season.
The press was impressive, we won the ball, we dominated in possession, we created chances and hammered them in the first half – they had nothing, apart from a moment of luck or a touch of brilliance depending on which side you are on. I know (Youri) Tielemans is good, but I promise you he is not doing that ten out of 100 times.”
Not settling for second best
“In the second half we got the equaliser and went for the win when it would have been easy to accept a point against one of the big clubs. But no, we have fantastic mentality and kept pushing. The only moment in the game where I'm disappointed is the 2-1 goal because we need to recover better and get onto the ball quicker. Besides that, I can’t ask more from the players.”
Injuries mounting up
Bryan Mbeumo (knock) and Ethan Pinnock (hip) both limped out of Sunday’s clash with Leicester and both were being assessed this week.
“I think it's no secret to say we have the smallest budget and are also more fragile to injuries to key players, but I trust my squad and all my players and if we keep putting performances like that we will be fine.”
Learning from mistakes
“We are very offensive in our set pieces and want to win the second ball and be on top in the second phase to put the ball in to the back stick or whatever. We know that there can be counter attacks in that situation, but we want to be brave and offensive thinking. On this occasion we still had three behind the ball but there was a recovery run that was too late coming back in and we took some wrong decisions, so that was the disappointing thing. But we will learn from it.”
A clinical edge
“Is it margins, being clinical, having quality or unlucky? Everything is linked and I don't know what percentage you give to the margins to get to the quality. I haven’t figured that equation out yet.
"But I believe strongly that if we keep doing what we’re doing and get in the situations we're getting into, we will win more matches than we lose for the rest of the season. If we replicate that performance then we would have won it if we played tomorrow. But that’s where we need to learn from the small mistakes, especially for the 2-1 goal, and keep developing.”
Clock watching Kasper
Thomas was asked what he said to Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel at full time, after the Dane’s goal kick go-slows.
“I thought about that during the game. He was wasting time during the first hour and I was thinking ‘come on Kasper, you're better than that’, but I know he’s a clever, clever player so I just said to him they were xxxxxxx lucky. That was my word to him, and then we just talked a little bit back and forth.”
And the Danish number one’s words of wisdom
“Kasper said we were good, especially the first half, but also that Leicester experienced the same when they got up to the Premier League and in some games they couldn't get over the line for whatever reason. But it came eventually and look what they achieved.”
“I know one thing and that is that we’re playing on Wednesday and that’s Stoke. I'm only focused on Stoke City because I want to win that game Of course, I know we're facing Burnley next week but I'm not thinking about anything other than Stoke When it comes to the league I will take any points – if it's against the number one or number 20 in the Premier League I don’t care.
"I know some games are called six-point games but not by us because we do everything we can not to think too much about that going into the game, but to really look at the performance and the game plan and focus on that.”
The striker could be right up there in the Premier League top scorer’s chart but for a few licks of paint of the woodwork, and Thomas said: “He came off with a minor injury but I think he had a fine game, not maybe one of his best or one of his worst. I suppose it’s not good when you can't remember that many top actions from him, but there was a good chance he was involved in and he worked hard like always in the pressure, so I need to watch it back in a bit more.”
Mathias getting stronger
“I think maybe it was Mathias Jensen’s best game. He really gave us some quality on the ball, so I'm really pleased for that especially as he’s coming back from injury. Now we just need to find the balance with the right balls in behind, but it was a good performance and we need that.”
And a few words from Brendan Rodgers…
On game management
“I guess maybe we were a little more streetwise in how to buy a free kick, how to delay a little bit, how to recover and rest with the ball. The longer you’re at this level you start to understand.”
In praise of Brentford
“They are absolutely fantastic and they’ve made it really difficult for every team they’ve played against here, including Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. So you have to be right on your game because if you’re not resilience-wise then they are real test. All the players and the club are so excited to be in the Premier League and they want to prove a point so when you have that combination and add it to the quality they have, they are a really difficult opponent and you have to dig deep to get the victory.”