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Interviews

"Our fans have shown they can make a hostile environment"

Thomas Frank on The Toffees visit this afternoon

28 November 2021

Thomas Frank has told his team that they need to be brave and take risks this afternoon to get the three points against Everton. Have a listen to Thomas' pre-match press conference below. 

Everton Team News …

Yoane Wissa will make the bench. He still has a bit to go to get to that very good fitness level he had before he got injured. He’s looking sharper and scoring goals in training.

From the last squad everyone is fit. Mathias Jensen will also be available for selection. Most likely Zanka will miss the game. Mads Bech is available.

Confidence within the group …

In general, you get confidence from three things as a player; training well so you know you are fit and sharp, performing in games, and getting results. The results are important, but we have been training very well throughout the season. We’ve performed well; in the last five it’s only the Burnley game which has been bad. In general, it has been good or very good, we just need to keep it up.

Rafael Benitez …

Any manager that manages more than 1000 games is a great manager. On top of that when you’ve done it in several different countries with top clubs across the world, that speaks for itself. He can tweak it tactically as he did against Wolves to make them look much better. He is a brilliant manager and one of the best in the world.

Everton …

They will see this as an opportunity to get three points; that’s what every manager should think going into the next game. I am more focused on what we can do. It is very important that our approach is front-footed, aggressive, and brave. That is the bit I can control.

Every game is a huge experience and huge occasion. I am very aware of that and try to embrace it but after that it is just a match. I am in charge of a team that I badly want to win.

Sunday’s gameplan …

It is extremely important we are brave. We need to be able and have a mindset to take risks if you want to have a better chance of winning football matches. There’s always that balance because on the flip side we need to defend better in spells. That is nothing to do with us going forward it is more when we are behind the ball.  

We are scoring goals and creating chances. We need to consistently press high, be aggressive, and run in behind and have a bit more sharpness in the defensive situations to hopefully get that clean sheet.

Home form …

I’d 100 per cent prefer our home to be a fortress and an unbelievably difficult place to play. That’s the aim and that’s what we work on every single day. If you want to achieve something you need to get points home and away. I am pleased we have been so consistent and been able to get points away. In every aspect of football that is the most difficult thing. I think good home form is just around the corner. Our fans have shown that when they are really on it, they can make a hostile environment and atmosphere.  

Just like for me, it’s a new experience for our fans every single time we face one of the Premier League sides. I hope they can’t wait to come back, support the team, and make this fantastic stadium a very difficult place to come.

Experience in the group …

Experience is good, especially in certain spells of the season to understand when you don’t get points four games in a row and don’t win in five. It’s still football and there’s nothing magic. The way we have done things is why we have done fairly well so far this season with almost zero experience for me, my players, and the staff. Sometimes we give it too much importance that you need to have top experience. If you are prepared, have knowledge, and do what you do, you can still perform.

Regaining our defensive solidity …

I think we’ve been bang on it defensively throughout the season. That last couple of games should have been a bit better. We always want to play with our strongest XI but we have a strong squad. I trust every player we put in there. We maybe need five per cent more focus and determination to make sure we get on the ball, make sure we have the right distances, and make sure every duel is important. That extra focus is the bit we try to get into the group again because that was insanely good over the first six or seven games.

Belonging in the top-flight …

I don’t speak too much about that; it was only really before the Arsenal game and the Wolves game. Before Arsenal, I just said that I have such a strong belief in you guys that I’ll almost be disappointed if we don’t get something out of this game. In general, we just do what we do; we train well, we prepare well, and we take the next opponent. It is important to be pretty level and consistent; we don’t speak it up or down too much. The important thing is to be brave; you need to be positive and brave if you want to perform well.

The blueprint for success …

I think heart and desire is the foundation for every player and every team if they want to achieve something. If you don’t have that, in the long run, you’ll win nothing. Experience is one thing but I would say more experience/quality. We have a good structure and know what we want but, even if it clicks, we can still come up against 11 players who can beat all that with one glimpse of brilliance or quality. I still believe, over time, if we can do that and keep developing, we will beat the other bits.

Rolling over our home shirts …

For fans it is fantastic news that they don’t have to spend more money on a new shirt to be totally updated. I like that strategy a lot. Our fans have been fantastic; during the Pandemic a lot of them decided not to take refunds on their season ticket money and paid it into the club. We’ve tried to give something back.

Being the lowest dribblers in the Premier League …

It is a big personnel thing I’d say. We don’t have that many dribblers in the team. I would love to have one or two more; it is all about getting the balance right. We have the types in the squad that we want. Wissa is a dribbler, he came in late, finally got fit, scored goals but then got injured. Josh Dasilva would have been going past people for fun in the Premier League and Shandon Baptiste has been injured. It is important that we have types who can do that especially in games which are tight and you need someone who can create an overload. [In January] we are very closely looking into our injury situation. For example, if Wissa is fit, Shandon is coming up to pace, and Josh is getting closer then we have more than enough capable players who can do that.


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