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Interviews

"We have won one game with one good performance: The players know that"

Thomas Frank previews our trip to Crystal Palace

20 August 2021

Get all the latest from Thomas Frank as we prepare for our opening away day of the new season at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The latest team news

All players that were available for Arsenal will be available for Saturday.

I can’t put specific weeks or months on Josh Dasilva, it is just a longer one.

Mathias Jensen trained partly with the group today which is good, but he is out for Saturday.

Wissa will definitely be part of the squad and then we will see what happens on Saturday, but he is getting closer. He’s had a good week of training with lots of talks and meetings.  

Friday night’s win over Arsenal

It’s very rare that you can nail that combination of performance on the pitch with the community off it. It was remarkable in many, many ways. Looking back in 20 years’ time it might be a top five game for the club and fans because everything just came perfectly together on Friday night.

I said after the game that we need to celebrate every win, like we did in the Championship last year but, Saturday morning, you have to be focussed and looking towards Crystal Palace. After the game we went round to the fans like we’ve done since I took over; win, lose, or draw we went round to the fans. We are very pleased. What I would say is that I will be very disappointed if we don’t put a good performance in on Saturday. Will we win? I don’t know. I am 100 per sure we will put in a good performance in terms of effort and focus and then hopefully on the day we will have the quality to get a win.

Transfer latest

We are always looking for a potentially good option. We don’t have anything close and we don’t need anything in a specific position. I am pleased with the window we’ve had so far; I am pleased with the squad. If we get another player in it is more important for me that it is a quality player rather than a specific position.

Facing Crystal Palace

It is going to be very difficult. Selhurst Park is one of the most difficult places to go in the Premier League; they will be on top of us from the first minute. I need to praise Crystal Palace because they have been in the Premier League for the last eight years and have been very consistent in everything they do. They have come between tenth and 15th in the last eight seasons and they are a very difficult team to break down. They have a new and interesting manager in Patrick Vieira. As a player he was unbelievable and now, as a manager, he has taken a good pathway to New York City, Nice, and now the Premier League. There has been a step every single time. It’s going to be a very tough test. We are confident and we believe in ourselves. We will go there and do our very best to be brave again.

We watched all their pre-season games, but it is difficult to know what to expect completely. We looked a bit at what he did at Nice to get an idea on the style of play, but we can’t be 100 per cent sure of the approach to the game or the system. That makes it a little bit trickier to make it a clear preparation. We have prepared for different systems and scenarios in the week leading up so we will be prepared. We need to be ready and adaptable to what we see on the team-sheet.

We need handle the spell where they come at us well. They are a very strong counter-attacking team. When we have the ball, we need to be well organised behind the ball because we will lose it eventually, unless we put it in the back of the net. That is where we have to be very sharp.

Confidence in players

It was a good performance against a top side in Arsenal. That gives us a lot of confidence, but the Premier League is more than Friday night under the lights at our new stadium where everything is buzzing. It is also away to Crystal Palace. We need to perform in different environments and show we can be consistent. Of course, I believe that we can, but I am very aware it is going to be a difficult game on Saturday. As I constantly say we need to be confident but humble. If we can find that balance, then I think we will be fine on Saturday.

The reception for Bukayo Saka on Friday

I didn’t know how popular [Woody's embrace] was until my son texted me to say that it is on this and this platform. It was just me in a moment, not thinking, and just acting naturally. If I should pick a moment that I’m prouder of is when Bukayo Saka came on the pitch and our fans stood up and gave him a fantastic reception. That for me is a top moment. I was very proud to be a part of Brentford when we applauded Saka. The whole game was a beautiful example of how good our fans are. There is something bigger than the 90 minutes and they showed that with the 30 seconds they applauded Saka. That is how it should be.

Depth in the midfield

If everyone was fit, there is a big chance that both Josh Dasilva and Mathias Jensen would have started the game. It is fantastic to have Vitaly Janelt and Frank Onyeka doing an unbelievable job alongside Christian Norgaard of course. We need to have that strength in depth and also players to play different games. For Arsenal, it was good to have Frank and Vitaly who are two pressing machines; they are constantly going and must be a nightmare to play against. They were a big part of why we were successful on Friday night.

Keeping standards high

We need to keep the confidence because confidence is 50 per cent, or more, of the performance from an elite athlete. Confidence is vital but we also need to keep our feet on the ground. We have won one game with one good performance. The players know that; we have such a strong culture. If I need to give the players a reminder it is if we don’t train well enough. If there were spells in Tuesday’s training where they didn’t do a recovery run or if today the quality wasn’t good enough, that’s where we need to be on each other to keep the standards high, so it becomes second nature to do all our principles.

Sergi Canos

Sergi Canos plays with a huge passion and that can drive the team. He also gets the fans on board which is massively important. He is a very good example of the culture in the squad because he is a winger playing wing-back which is relatively easy going forward. It is more difficult when you have to defend. The way he defended and the passion with which he defended at the back stick with balls in behind and the one-on-one duels was unbelievable. He is a very good example of the status of the squad at this time.

Alvaro Fernandez

A high priority for us was to sign a good goalkeeper with a big potential but who, at the same time, could put pressure on David Raya. We want players in who make the squad stronger by competing with players but also helping the team when needed. Alvaro is a top keeper and a top personality who will push training in that Goalkeeper Unit and make David better.


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