Brentford booked their place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup with a win over Stoke City last night. Sergi Canós put The Bees in front before Ivan Toney scored what proved to be the winner before half time, making a goal on the hour from Romaine Sawyers irrelevant. 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..........
“Very impressive first half and you could see the difference in the teams in the first half, but I’m not talking about the difference between the leagues because I don't buy that. We are a newly promoted team, but I said before the game that the difference between the bottom ten Premier League and the top six in the Championship is tiny, so I was pleased with the attitude, the discipline and the intensity.”
Killing the game off
“Our attitude, discipline and intensity were good and in the first half on the ball we found solutions all the time and they couldn't get out of the press. We created chances and scored two really good goals and were bang on, but in the second half Mathias (Jensen) needs to score a big chance after five minutes… then we gave two stupid corners away through simple mistakes that shouldn't happen.
"They score and it’s more scrappy and more of a second ball game, but we handled that well because we gave nothing away and still created three or four big chances. It was a massive win.”
“I said to Ivan and Tariqe that I think they wanted to give me a heart attack, because both of them could have ended the game (with the chances they had). But their keeper did well and in the end it was a well deserved win.”
The system works
“In the first half those 11 looked like they’d played together a lot in the last two years, and that’s a lot of credit to the players and the coaching staff who have done a fantastic job preparing them so they know what to do in the system. It just didn’t matter that we had a lot of new players… we were very, very impressive.”
The right balance
“I was very on it in the preparation before the game, during the game and at half time because I wanted to be sure we did everything we could to go through to next round. We want to do everything we can to go as far as possible so why not try to go for the win?
"Then then you need to find that balance to make a few changes but not too many to make a strong a team – and that happened. The selection was just perfect.”
The 2-1 win at Stoke was the Bees’ first in the Potteries in 15 attempts stretching back to 1936, and Thomas said: “These players have made history in the last three years so many times, creating new moments and breaking records. They're so hungry and so determined to keep going, so they always want more.”
Raya ‘one of the best’
“Of course it’s a massive blow with David [Raya being out for a few months injured] because I think in nine games he's shown himself to be one of the better keepers in the Premier League.
If you really analyse his game compared to other keepers, I think he's a top six or top eight keeper. I know I'm biased but I also try to look at the other keepers. So of course it’s a massive blow and we’re devastated on his behalf.”
… but Álvaro Fernández will fill his gloves
“It was a big thing from the club and me that we brought in another good keeper so if the worst case scenario happened we can say we are calm and we trust Álvaro. I was very pleased to see another fine performance from him.
"He is a similar profile to David, he’s good in the build up, he wants to have a high line for the balls behind and wants to be brave play out of the box and is good in those one on one situations as well. So we are very pleased with Álvaro.”
‘If they’re good enough, they’re old enough’
“There will be opportunities. Matthew Cox was on the bench with Paris Maghoma and Daniel Oyegoke, who are both good young players. It’s a chance for some of the players to put themselves in contention and maybe get some game time in the cups or at the end of the league match.
"My view is if they're good enough they play, no matter how old they are. We signed Matthew because we think he is unbelievably talented keeper, but of course it may be just a tiny bit too early to play a full season in the Premier League, but I would trust him if he had to come on the pitch.
"He and Álvaro have trained with us for three or four months since they started, and they have just constantly improved.”
Sawyers’ late scare
“In a way of course I don't like it (when former players score) but I just care so much about them so I'm pleased for him and his performance. I'm pleased that our fans – 1,500 was impressive – also applauded him in the end because I think he deserved that.
"I would love to work with Romaine in the future. He is still a fantastic player and a wonderful person with a fantastic football brain, so I think he has a bright future.”