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"The difference between the two teams will be very small"

Thomas Frank's thoughts on tonight's Carabao Cup Fourth Round tie

27 October 2021

Thomas Frank feels there will be very little between the two teams tonight as we head to the Bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City in the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup. Michael O'Neill's side have started brightly in the Sky Bet Championship this term and Thomas is in no doubt they will provide a very tough test tonight. Listen to Thomas' pre-match press conference below.

The latest injury news …

Bryan Mbeumo and Ethan Pinnock will be out for Wednesday. Hopefully they are available for Saturday, it is too early to say yet. Bryan is a minor hamstring issue. It is not a big one because that would rule him out for the next couple of weeks. We took him off [on Sunday] as it was the early stages so, hopefully, he can be available for Saturday.

Wednesday’s team selection …

Marcus Forss will start. He’s done fantastic in the cup tournaments and had a very good substitute appearance against Chelsea. He did many things right against Leicester City but was a little unlucky where the ball dropped. We need to put a strong team out there or we won’t have a chance to progress to the next round. Exactly how that team will look you will see on Wednesday, but I will definitely not make as many changes as the first two rounds. We will go strong.

The importance of the Carabao Cup …

If you asked me which tournament is the most important then it’s the Premier League but for me the next game is always the most important; we want to do everything we can and try to win the Carabao Cup. We are going to face a very good team in Stoke City where Michael O’Neill has done a top job in stabilizing the club. Now they can really compete for the top six. The top six in the Championship and the bottom ten in the Premier League are not very different, especially over 90 minutes. It is going to be a very tough game, but we are going there strong.

I want us to do everything we can to try and win the Carabao Cup. I love the cup tournaments; the longer that I stay in this country and learn more about the culture and the history, the more I love the cup tournaments. It is a good thing that it is only 90 minutes, not extra time.

Our opponents Stoke City …

I don’t think we are the big Premier League team swaggering into town. We are a Premier League team facing Stoke City of the Championship and I am proud of that. I know how difficult it is to play against Stoke; the last two times I faced them, we lost. We haven’t added that many players to the squad and they haven’t either. The difference between the two teams will be very small. We are in the Premier League so we should be the favourites but, if you look at the bookmakers’ odds, I don’t think we will be massive favourites.  

They are a very energetic and aggressive side who press forward. They can mix up their game; they can play and also go direct. The biggest thing we must do is cut down their crosses as they cross a lot and cross well. They have a lot of players arriving in the box and that is an area we need to defend well. Hopefully then, we can create the situations we want, either by getting more on the ball or creating dangerous situations behind them. It is going to be an unbelievable physical battle. We need be absolutely on it and to put the same intensity and output as we did against Leicester City.

Sunday’s Leicester City defeat …

It’s 24 hours so I’m just passed it now. I hate losing no matter how well we performed. We looked at the game back and we’re very pleased with the performance overall. If you look over 90 minutes then there can only be one winner, which is us, but I respect how football works. The first-half was even more when I looked it back; we had 63 per cent possession, nine shots to their two, and a number of dangerous situations. That is very impressive when compared to what kind of team we were facing. There are many positive things to take away from the game and we need to learn from the things we need to improve, especially their second goal. That is something that can cause me sleepless nights as that’s an area where we are better than most other teams. We corrected that today and hopefully we won’t see that again for a long, long time.  

The campaign so far …

Every single game is only a snapshot but if you add the snapshots together then we’ve had quite an impressive start to the Premier League. We’ve only played one bad half this season, the second-half against West Ham. The rest of them I am very pleased with. We’ve looked very strong defensively and have played with big intensity in our pressure. We’ve showed we can play in different ways. I’d prefer to play more like we did in the first-half against Leicester, where we dominated the ball, but we can go more direct like we did against Liverpool. I think we have a good formula to create results. However, I am very aware this is a relentless league; we can’t stop for one second because then things can turn around.

The unpredictable nature of the top flight …

It is part of keeping us on our toes. We could go to Burnley and lose 5-2 like the Everton result and then there’s Norwich City losing 7-0 to Chelsea. Chelsea are not beating every team 7-0 and Norwich will not lose 7-0 the next time they play them. That just shows that some of the teams have so much quality that if you relax or hit them when they are just on top of their game anything can happen.

Styles of football …

If you want to be a good side, then you need to be good in all phases. You need to be good on the counter-attack, you need to be good in established play, and you need to be good at set-pieces. If you are not good at set pieces then it’s a wasted opportunity.  

I respect all styles of play but if I could choose, I’d like to play like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City because they dominate. Liverpool are top of the league for scoring goals from set-pieces so you can’t neglect that in modern football.

Ivan Toney …

Ivan loves to play football and, if he could choose, he would play every single minute of every single game. I don’t have one player in the squad who doesn’t want to play every single minute so that is a fantastic mentality.

Marcus Forss …

If we were in the Championship, he would maybe be the number one striker. We went a level up and we need more than one good player. Marcus has gone through a very good development as a player and a person. When he was younger he might have come knocking on the door but now he knows what he has to do. We like him and, when the opportunity is there, he needs to be ready. Brian Riemer is very on top of him with extra training and video feedback to make sure he is ready when he gets the minutes.

Tickets for tonight's game are now off sale. Brentford fans that cannot attend can listen live on BeesPlayer


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