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Interviews

"There is that good focus with the understanding we are facing a Swansea team that has done a fantastic season"

Thomas Frank previews today's Play-Off Final

29 May 2021

Watch Thomas Frank's pre-match Press Conference below as he gives the latest team news ahead of today's final, reflects on the season as whole, and previews this afternoon's action under the arch at Wembley.

Thomas on team news …

From the last squad, the only doubt is Christian Nørgaard. We will assess him and take a decision as late as possible to see if he is ready. We will take a decision later today. Rico Henry is out.

Thomas on tomorrow’s game …

It is relatively big. We are excited. I was thinking about it driving home from training yesterday that the atmosphere was calm and focused. There is that good focus with the understanding we are facing a Swansea team that has done a fantastic season. We have played them twice, both 1-1 draws, with Steve Cooper who is one of the most talented managers in this country, and his experienced coaching staff, who have just performed and performed even better. It is going to be an unbelievably tight game decided on the finest margins. I am looking forward to it and we will give it a big go.  

They are extremely good at defending and have a bit of a bite going forward as well. They will also want to dominant on the ball in spells of the game. It is difficult to predict; I just predict a very tight game.

Thomas on preparation …

We have done more or less the same this season in terms of preparation with maybe some small, tiny tweaks.

I think [last year’s experience] is a plus, how big a plus you don’t really know. That experience from last year will help in a way but it is not like we are suddenly 20 per cent better. It might help in the decisive moments. Maybe it is that intuitive feeling in your body when you enter Wembley stadium, when you start the game, when there are ups and down. Maybe it will help.

We need to acknowledge there will be nerves. We will all be a tiny bit more tense but that is a good thing. You raise your arousal level and are going into combat mode. For me, it is important that we do everything we can to be brave and make sure that we don’t regret anything when we look back. If we perform well, then we can’t do more. It is then down to the fine margins and the football gods. We need to do the basics first and then see what happens.

Thomas on his final message to players …

I have been thinking but I haven’t nailed it in my head yet. Sometimes before a normal game I think I shouldn’t say anything, but this is a bigger game. They are professional footballers; they have trained their whole life to play games like this. We will try and play on the final emotion bit for the players, but it is very important we keep a cool head. It is that fine balance we need to find. We will be ready tomorrow; I am in no doubt about that.

Thomas on the return of fans …

You saw in the game against AFC Bournemouth how much the fans can help us. I know it was special because it was only our fans here in our stadium, but they had a massive impact on the result. It is going to be a tight game and go down to the finest margins so we need the fans there to cheer us on throughout the game, even if it is not going like we want it because this game will take twists and turns to the end. We definitely need them.

Thomas on confidence from Bournemouth win …

It should give us some confidence and belief going into the final. We will go in with confidence and belief but very, very, very aware of the strength of Swansea and the big task ahead of us. Everyone said we came to the first Semi-Final with momentum, but it was a tight game that Bournemouth won 1-0. We need to turn up on the day and hit the good performance. It is all about that.

Thomas on this season …

We believe that the work we put in every single day with a clear strategy and structure will, in time, give us success. It is an extraordinary achievement this year. If we win tomorrow everyone knows the newspaper headlines and everyone knows the headlines if we lose. Both of those things can happen. We need to go in opened-minded but of course believing that we can win. To come back this year having lost last year with the shortest turnaround, selling potentially the two best players in the league, and breaking the transfer record twice from the Championship, is remarkable. We then went through to the final against a very good Bournemouth side. We are a success it just depends on how big of a success we are. That will take us to our goal eventually, one way or another.


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