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Thomas Talks… psychic powers, supersubs and trust in the squad

Report from the post-match written press conference after West Ham win

5 October 2021

Brentford picked up a memorable Premier League win on Sunday. The Bees beat West Ham United 2-1 away from home with Yoane Wissa scoring a late winner. That left Brentford seventh in the table and unbeaten away from home so far. Jim Levack, who has covered Brentford for many years for Press Association, among others, reports on what Thomas had to say..........

Belief

“I'm always honest and I believe in the team and the players massively. I believed that we could do something in the Premier League from the beginning. I knew we’d be strong defensively, pressing forward and aggressive and also knew we’d try to be brave. That’s been my biggest message to the players throughout all the games so far.

"Of course 12 points from our first seven games, that's a lot but it’s always just a massive focus on the next game and the next training. We want to end as high as possible so let's see where that takes us.”

Merit

“Of course we’re proud and pleased with what we’ve achieved so far but I think the most important thing is that it's fully deserved. There might even have been a couple of games where we drew that we could have won.”

Kings of the East End

“We knew we were going to a very, very difficult place. West Ham at home are a very good team and they showed that, especially in the second half. But the way we approached it, brave, aggressive, taking control of the game, we deserved to go one up. Then I think they were better than us second half so there are things we can do better.”

Digging in

“We struggled and had to put bodies on the line. We needed to show resilience, hard work and togetherness. I want us to do better though, but it's football and West Ham are a top side. I thought we’d got through the storm in the second half and then we got caught at a corner, but that mentality to go again for a winner is just fantastic.”

Mixing it up

“It's very important that we show we can play and want to be dominant and brave, but everyone knows if you want to create something or get top results, you need to defend with bodies on the line and be extremely good at it. We showed a top mentality there.”

Squad matters

“If you consider that we lost three players [Kristoffer Ajer before the game, VItaly Janelt in the warm-up and Shandon Bapstite in the first half] then West Ham was an even bigger result which underlines how satisfied I am with my squad. We all know we have the lowest budget and don't have maybe as much quality and experience as others, but players are just ready to step in.

"Despite the disruption of the injuries – one in the warm up and another during the first half – Matthias Jensen And Frank Onyeka stepped up which shows why it's maybe an even bigger result.”

Ivan the Handful

While giving Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma a torrid time, the striker also caught the eye with some cultured first time passes and Thomas said: ”He didn't get an assist but what a first time ball to Sergi to create the goal. He’s a handful for every centre back. I think their two centre backs actually did well, but Ivan and Bryan are very aggressive handfuls in their link up play and also work very hard defensively.”

Top six toppled

“Getting a late winner is an amazing feeling and against top six side last season that I think can end in the top six again, it’s even better. They showed especially in the first 25 minutes of the second half how good they are but if you look at the whole game, the win was well deserved. You need to stay in the game, which we did for the second week in a row. If you can do that there’s always a chance you can win.”

One game at a time but…

 

“Of course I know the quality of West Ham and Liverpool and playing away at West Ham and getting four points out of it is remarkable, absolutely remarkable.”

Injury updates

“Kris has a hamstring injury so he’ll miss the Norwegian games. We hope he's available for Chelsea. We will assess Vitaly but it’s something in the thigh, I think it's a minor thing. And Shandon has a dislocated shoulder so I don't know how long that will take.”

On being everyone’s second team

“I guess that's okay. I've heard it before so of course it's nice. I think I understand why because we are a good story, in terms of who we are. Outside the Premier League, outside West London, even in UK and the world people don't even know how to pronounce our name, they don't know us. But we are showing them with the performances on the pitch.

"We are approachable, positive, so I understand it. But I'm also very aware that things can change quickly in football.”

Psychic powers

“I thought we’d actually got through the storm and then they scored from the corner. After that I don't think they came on as strong and we got the opportunity to get back in the game a little… that sometimes happens especially after one team has been pushing.

"Brian (Reimer) my assistant manager said on the touchline ‘it's a good point.’ I said: ‘Yeah, it's a good point but we can still win it. And we did’.”

Zanka full debut

“He had to come in for Kris. He obviously came on against Liverpool but this was his first full 90 and I was so pleased. He just stepped in and showed what a great player he is. He still needs to be even fitter to be in an even better place but it was a good performance.”

Yoane – supersub or starter?

"He deserves a lot of praise for training very hard to get up to the level I want in terms of intensity in the pressure and fitness level, and now he's proving it not only in games but also every day in training. He's pushing massively.

"But we all know we need players who can come on and win the game. I always talk about starters and the game-changers and at the moment he’s a game changer. Will it stay like that forever? I don't know. I don't think so, but I have two very good strikers complementing each other fantastically at the moment.”

… and a few words from David Moyes

“Brentford are a very hard team to play against and a lot of sides will find that this season. I wasn’t surprised by their bravery because they will be a test, especially the two centre forwards who combine so well.

"I think Brentford have momentum that they’ve created over the last two or three seasons and when you become a club that wins you get used to it and know what it feels like. I think Brentford will keep on going – they showed against Liverpool they don’t fear anyone – but even if some teams work them out, they have enough different aspects to their game.”


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