Brentford continued their 2021/22 Premier League season with a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace. 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..........
“In a relatively even game I felt we edged it and should have got three points. If we’d won it 1-0 you couldn't have argued with that, so I'm slightly disappointed actually. I think we were extremely good in the high and middle pressure and very aggressive going forward, winning the ball a lot especially the first half. But after we won it, we didn't have enough quality or coolness to create the massive chances. There were situations, especially in the second half, to keep the ball, move it to either side and create greater chances.”
“Defensively this draw gives us good belief. We had belief before but of course it's nice to see an action alive. Now we feel we can be in the Premier League and defend well, high middle and low, so that's definitely good. Two clean sheets is something we value very highly.”
“Ivan showed a fantastic work ethic, worked so hard in the pressure and was a constant threat throughout the game… and I’m 100 per cent sure he will score goals. I know he’ll be tough on himself, because he’ll know he should have scored especially one of the big chances on the corner, and that would have been a beautiful 1-0 away win. I know he’ll give us some goals at another time. It will come.
"I think sometimes we lacked a situation where we played in to him as a finisher, but he had a very decisive action where he squared it across the goal where I think Bryan Mbeumo should maybe have been there. So he was still very efficient, and I’m 100 per cent sure he will score… soon.”
Life in the Premier League
“I'm enjoying it and hope that will continue. It’s a fantastic stage to be performing at and I'm really pleased and proud of how the boys present themselves on the pitch. I was slightly disappointed with the way we were on the ball, but I like way we were aggressive, brave and went forward, and we'll do our very best to continue that. The way we defended was class, but sometimes you need to edge, these even games. So defensively good but we still need to be better on the ball.”
Clipping the Eagles’ wings
“Apart from the big chance to Conor Gallagher, we gave nothing away. We kept Zaha and Benteke very quiet which I'm pleased with because I think they’re two very good strikers.
"We spoke about Gallagher at half time. He’s a good offensive midfielder who likes to run those pockets in the half space, so we adjusted that and I didn’t feel he was a threat in the second half. With respect, I felt it was even more important to keep Benteke quiet and I felt we did a very good job. Sergi and Kristoffer Ajer did very well because to isolate him, so I was very pleased with that.”
“I said to the boys that I would have been very disappointed if we hadn’t put in a performance. We put a quite stable good one in so I’m very pleased with that. But I felt before the game, and I feel even more now, that there were three points to take and I think you should do that when you have the possibility. But it’s good to have something to work on.”
“Vitaly and Frank are unbelievable pressing players and they tired a little bit in the end because they covered a lot of ground. We want to keep that intensity going constantly so I had to change them at a certain stage.”
Bodies on the line
“Defensively it was a fine performance, but I still want more. It’s important to have a winning mentality or the right characters so they want to win. We are a team full of many, many good characters that want to really leave their hearts on the pitch and I think that's a big part of our relative success so far.
"Ethan is the Mountain but he's very quiet as a person and Kris is a little bit more vocal and a more extrovert, and you sometimes need that to drive the team. It was fantastic to see him and Sergi chesting up ot whatever you call it, celebrating great defensive work like a goal – that's fantastic and it shows a lot about the character in the team.”
Kris: The new Virgil Van Dijk?
“He defended very well and had some good actions on the ball, so I think he took a step in the right direction. But he’s still young with a lot of things to learn defensively and offensively. He’s come from Scotland and is proving himself, but it's a big comparison to make with maybe the best centre back in the world.
"He definitely has huge potential, because he’s got the character and the ability on the ball. You can see that when he’s driving forward, and I want that from my centre backs and outside centre backs. Now he just has to build, and learn all the extra layers of this.”
“I need to praise the three centre backs but also Brian Reimer who is the master or professor of defensive art, drilling it into them every day of the week. Pontus summed it up perfectly on the first day back after the Arsenal game when he said ‘what is this when this angry, aggressive bulldog we call Brian still wants more after we’ve beaten Arsenal’. That’s the attitude we constantly want to develop.”
… and a few words from Palace boss Patrick Viera.
“I wasn't surprised about the Brentford energy, because in the game against Arsenal that was one of their strengths. They work really hard for each other, they are well organised and there's quality in the team.
"They made it really difficult for us and the couple of tricks that Thomas Frank did at half time is maybe one of the reasons that we didn't see Conor as much as we did in the first half.”