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Thomas Talks… Looking up and controlling games better

Report from the post-match written press conference after draw at Newcastle

22 November 2021

Brentford ended a run of four Premier League defeats with a 3-3 draw away to Newcastle United on Saturday. The Bees fell behind early but responded within seconds as Ivan Toney equalised. Brentford went ahead twice, thanks Rico Henry and an own goal from Jamal Lascelles, but Newcastle recovered to earn a point.

The point leaves Brentford 14th in the table. 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..........

Party poopers

“In the press before the game it was all set up as a big occasion, a game Newcastle had to win and a big party we weren’t invited to. But the way we presented ourselves was massive even after we made it a bit difficult for ourselves going behind, especially after we’d talked a lot about not conceding an early goal. The mentality and attitude to get back in the game, to lead and then get on top again even after they equalised was very impressive.”

Three goals, one point

“When you're leading twice it's frustrating not to get three points. When you score three goals in a Premier League game, home and away or in any game across the world, you need to be able to get all the points. It was very positive scoring three goals and very positive that we created a lot of dangerous situations and chances, ­and we could have got more.”

Areas for improvement

“We need to defend better in duels and crosses into the box, which is something we normally do very well. It's something we focus on and talk a lot about, especially the defensive set pieces.

"To be fair we’ve only conceded two lucky ones after a second ball drop. One was Tielemans (for Leicester) into the top corner and this was the first contact in the box where we’ve actually conceded in the first 12 games, so we've done extremely well. And the rest of the set pieces have been bang on so their first goal is a little bit random, but the rest we need to keep moving on and keep training.”

Controlling games

“I’d prefer us to control the game more but if we have an open game that's also good for us in a sense, so I prefer an open game for us and a close game for Newcastle. That’s sometimes difficult to control but we managed to remain quite open for us when we were on the ball, creating a lot of chances, scoring three… could have scored more.

"The other way in spells we were good, but we still need to be more tight, more compact and calm. I want to press high, but we need to be finding that that balance.”

Finding the rhythm

“Sometimes it goes a little bit up and down in terms of having that consistency. Sometimes it's injuries, sometimes it's just a little bit of rhythm and there is a good rhythm and bad rhythm.”

Toney the talisman

“I haven't spoken to him about how big a day it was for him but of course I understand his desire to want to prove people wrong. Sometimes in life you take a different pathway and now he's doing fantastically well, so he deserves all the praise he gets.

"I’m pleased he got a goal and he did everything right with the other big chance that was cleared off the line and the marginal offside, but his link up play and work ethic were fantastic and I think he presented himself very well.”

Keep looking up

“We have a different approach and don’t think about keeping gaps to the teams below. We're not running away from anything, but we focus purely on the next game and do everything we can to win it. We want to try to end as high as possible in the league and I know that could be 17th or 16th ­– but it could also be higher.

"If you look forward and up that's much better instead of looking at what’s happening behind you. It makes you play with more bravery, coolness and freedom and that’s the aim and why I’m irritated we didn’t win.”

Big occasion mentality

“I was impressed and very pleased with the way we handled the crowd and the expectancy around Newcastle, and I think the boys did really well in that perspective. We had the composure to play in many situations but I think sometimes we went too long too early, but there was an element of making sure we did that in the first 10 or 20 minutes  because we knew they’d be on the front foot.”

One for the neutral?

“Definitely but I’d have enjoyed it a little more if we’d won 3-2. For the neutral fan it was a great game to watch with both teams going for it playing expansive, aggressive football, but as a manager you’d always prefer to be an easy 3-0 up and then win, but that's very rare especially at this level.”

A different challenge

“Big praise to our analysts because they did a top job [in analysing a Newcastle team playing a first game under new management]. Newcastle were much more front-footed and aggressive in the pressure and you saw the first steps of a team that wanted to play a little bit more, and that’s the most difficult thing to train and improve. I'm pretty sure [new Newcastle manager] Eddie Howe would say ‘we need to do a lot better’ but there was much more willingness to keep possession.”

Pride and disappointment

“The fans were unbelievably noisy and it was a fantastic atmosphere and occasion, but I think our fans did well as well. It was great to be part of and the way we presented ourselves being in the Premier League for the first time is quite impressive.

"But I had only disappointed players afterwards because this was a very good opportunity to get three points when we were up twice and scored three goals. In general, we did well and I know they had the big chance at the end but I think we were closer to winning the game.”


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