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First Team

"We have done very well but we have to top perform every single time"

Thomas previews today's trip to Aston Villa

28 August 2021

Thomas Frank has called on his side to keep their focus in games as we look to head into the first international break of the season on a high. The first two games of the Premier League season have been a real eye-opener but The Bees' boss has been pleased with how his side have adapted to life in the top flight and he wants that to continue with this afternoon's trip to Aston Villa. Listen to Thomas' pre-match Press Conference below.

The latest Team News …

Everyone from last week’s game against Crystal Palace should be available. We will assess Mathias Jensen and Shandon Baptiste to see if they can be in the squad.

Thomas on our current squad …

I think we have a strong squad and a squad that can compete. I am happy but we are always aware of the market. I can’t say one definitely won’t come in, but I can’t say one definitely will come in. We are not desperate to bring one in. We have built a squad that I think is strong enough and exciting enough to be competitive but also has some interesting players for the future.

[The new signings] have settled in well, especially Kristoffer Ajer and Frank Onyeka who started the first two games and did very well. Yoane Wissa came in a bit later, but we have big expectations for him and believe he can help us. He got 90 good minutes on Tuesday night. Alvaro Fernandez is a good goalkeeper and you have Myles Peart-Harris as well. They have settled in well.

Thomas on our trip to Aston Villa …

We are very humble. Of course, we believe in ourselves and go into every game believing we can win. We believe we can go to Villa Park and get something out of it. Villa are a massive club and Dean Smith has done a fantastic job. They have invested massively in the squad over the past three seasons. This summer they lost Jack Grealish but invested well in Danny Ings, Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia, and Ashley Young. They are building a team that, over time, could be a top eight team.

They will attack; they are very promising going forward. Ollie Watkins is a top player, maybe he will start, maybe he will not. In Danny Ings they have bought one of the best strikers outside the top six over the past couple of years. They have built something that looks really interesting and have a team with individuals who make you go woah. It is going to be a tough task.

Thomas on Dean Smith …

I am very happy that he has done so well. I know how good he is at building a culture and a way of playing. He is an unbelievable person; he really cares about everyone in a Club from top to bottom. He is a fantastic man manager. We have spoken on the phone quite a bit the last 18 months but I am really looking forward to seeing him.

When I joined Brentford, it was the first time I had worked outside of Denmark. The first week I was here I lived in [Dean Smith and Richard O’Kelly’s] house which made it so easy for me to be integrated in Brentford. We had different cultures and hopefully we gave a bit to each other. They helped me to understand the English game and understand the Championship which was a massive help. He is a great manager and an even better person.

Thomas on Ollie Watkins …

I am so happy every time he gets success. It was a sad moment when he had to leave. I clearly remember the day after the Play-Off Final he was in tears because he loved the club and he wanted to play in the Premier League with Brentford. He had a season that was unbelievable and we knew that if we didn’t go up he would have to leave. He proved he could be a success in the Premier League last year. I was never in doubt about that. Even though we got a good price he was still a bargain for Villa. I am looking forward to seeing him on Saturday.

Thomas on the season so far …

I am mostly pleased with the performances so far. I still think there are bits that we could do better, especially from the Crystal Palace game and the first-half against Forest Green. We are in a good place; we need to build on that and continue to develop the team. We take nothing for granted.

The pace of the game and the quality of the players is crazy high. We have done very well but we have to top perform every single time. The big part is to keep that mental and physical focus to keep producing good performances as an individual and as a team. That is the big thing we need to keep pushing every single day. Right now we haven’t been punished by the Premier League but, of course, the day will come where we make a mistake or an unbelievable cross finds a player in the box. We are very aware of it and that is the biggest challenge.

Thomas on Yoane Wissa …

I am pleased that he scored a good goal and that he was active in the final third. That was important but equally important was his work ethic and how he pressed. That is a massive part of how we want to play; he has taken a massive step up over the past couple of weeks. There are still bits he needs to do even better but he is going in the right direction.

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