Thomas on team selection …
Everyone is available except Shandon Baptiste who had the red card. There will be some changes, but it will be a strong side with international players and there will be a strong bench. We want to progress to the next round.
It is a fantastic opportunity for the guys who are going to start tomorrow. It is one thing doing things in training, but it is another putting a top performance in during one of these games. That might get me thinking that he needs to start the next game or be the first sub.
Thomas on Saturday’s Wolves win …
The mood is really good. An away win against Wolves in the Premier League is one thing but it was deserved; we top performed first-half and were better than them. It was a fully deserved with ten vs 11 as well. It was a massive boost but we are humble. We know we need to be bang on it against Oldham Athletic tomorrow. A big part of being a top performer is being mentally ready for every task you are going to face.
Thomas on Oldham Athletic …
You can say we are a posh bus stop when we are facing Oldham Athletic. I said to the players that it was 12 years ago we were in League Two. In football it goes up relatively slowly, but it can go so quickly the other way. If we one day forget to be humble or forget to do the basic stuff, that is the day that you aren’t going to go any further.
We have watched as much of Oldham as we did Wolves. It is exactly the same preparation; we will be ready for it. It is crucial if we want to go as far as possible in the Carabao Cup to maximise our thoughts on the game tomorrow. This is what takes you as far as possible.
We know it is a game we will dominate. It is for us to find the right positions and try to explore them down the sides if possible. They want to combine on the sides to produce crosses and breakthroughs on the half-space runs. If we go too high pressing them, they will go more direct and we need to be ready for the second ball game in these situations. We are prepared for what they will come with tomorrow; I know Keith Curle will prepare them well.
I expect them to come and play with no fear. I would tell them to go out and express themselves if I was in charge of Oldham. I expect a team who will do their best to put in a good performance out there.
Thomas on avoiding an upset …
In football nothing is easy. We have seen surprises so many times in cup tournaments. That can happen tomorrow. Of course, we are favourites and of course I expect us to win but I know that Oldham can hurt us. We are prepared as well as we were against Wolves. I will put a strong team out there that can win the game, but we know it is the small things in football that can change the game.
I really believe that the approach of focussing on the next game gives us the best chance to get as many points as possible. If we now look back at the five games, we could have had a bit more. We had fair and square wins against Wolves and Arsenal and three completely even games against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, and Brighton. If there should have been a narrow winner in all three of them, on the stats, it should have been us.
Thomas on progressing in the competition …
We know there are much bigger clubs out there but why not do our best to go out there and win it. That is our approach. I believe that keeping winning will massively help us. We showed last year that we can go Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday no problem. Of course, you need some freshness so it’s the balance of how long you can do it with the same players. You also need to give players that little sniff, especially if they have trained well. It is about getting that balance right with a squad that are willing to push and help each other.
Thomas on working at Brentford
It is a true privilege being at a club where there is a clear strategy which is completely aligned from top to bottom. We have a calm, visionary owner and two fantastic sports directors. We all want to go in the same direction. 12 years ago Matthew Benham came into the club so everything is possible if you build, step by step, with the right people. We are a fantastic example of that and hopeful we can keep adding layers. The first time we think that we are too big to face a team like Oldham that is the first time it will start to go downwards in terms of our performance.
Thomas on Ivan Toney …
Ivan has a top mentality and is very level-headed. He has a big belief in himself which is massively important if you want to be a top performer. He knows that he needs to do well with what is in front of him, the next training session or the next match, and then good things happen for a reason. If Gareth Southgate thinks that he is good enough he will call him up.
Like all our other players, I had 100 per cent belief he could compete in the Premier League. If I analyse him as a player; his presence and mentality, tick, he can play Premier League; his link up play and technique, tick, can definitely play Premier League; his finishing skills, tick, definitely Premier League. I was never in doubt.
Thomas on Kristoffer Ajer …
Kris has done well. He gives us big quality on the ball. He is calm and composed and he is not afraid of driving forward on the underlap which we like him to do when possible. He is still a young defender but has performed well like the rest of the team. We need to keep working on all the small details to help him develop further. He has adapted well and is, so far, part of a very successful back three.
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