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"It is going to be our toughest opponent so far"

Thomas Frank on Brighton and Hove Albion challenge

11 September 2021

Thomas Frank feels the side are in for a real test this afternoon when Brighton and Hove Albion come to TW8. The Seagulls opened up with consecutive league wins before defeat to Everton last time out and Thomas was full of praise for the work that Graham Potter is doing on the south coast when he spoke to the press on Thursday. Watch his full pre-match Press Conference below.

Thomas on Team News …

Team news is good. Everyone is fit and available for selection that means Frank Onyeka can join the squad. Mathias Jensen got a full game, more of less, for the national team and Shandon Baptiste is in a better place.  

Thomas on plans for a World Cup every two years …

My first, initial, thought is that it will be too much. I like either the World Cup or Euros every four years. I think it would be a little bit faded in a way. Everyone can see what the Euros did for several countries, especially England, in the summer. National Team football is very important but every second year is too much. It would be too much the same and too often.

Thomas on Brighton and Hove Albion …

Brighton are a club who have done very well; this is their fifth season in the Premier League. Graham Potter and his coaching staff have done fantastically well. They were unlucky last year not to finish higher in the league and I think it is going to be our toughest opponent so far. That is said with the biggest respect to our three opponents so far; Arsenal had a disrupted pre-season with Covid and injury, Crystal Palace have a new manager and lots of incomings, and Aston Villa had a disrupted pre-season with Covid. Now we are facing a team with a manager going into his third season and with no issues. This is going to be an unbelievably tough challenge. I like the way they play. They are very clear in how they want to build the game. They want to dominate on the ball and want to find good positions. They are very difficult to handle with that. They also have one of our former players, Neal Maupay. I am really looking forward to seeing him. I really enjoy watching him play and I’m really pleased he’s doing well in the Premier League.

They deserve a lot of praise for how they approach the games. They want to dominate and want to play. I really like that style of play. It will be a fantastic battle on Saturday; both teams would like to dominate as much as possible. We will see who will come out on top.

We need a top performance. Playing at home is always a slight advantage and if the fans can create a great atmosphere, like they did against Arsenal, that will be a massive help. We need to press well. That will be key as they are very good on the ball and know exactly what they want to do. Then, hopefully, we can add a bit more in the final third than we have done the past two games.

Thomas on where we can improve …

We need to keep the foundation we’ve laid in our performances, especially the defensive side of the game. We’ve been pressing forward and high, and very aggressively. That is the key thing for us to do. We also want to try to build from the back and be slightly more dominant. We need to understand that we’ve stepped a level up and that can be slightly more difficult. There were spells against Aston Villa where we did very well on the ball but we need to add that quality in the final pass or decision making.

We are not one of the bigger clubs. We are a bus stop in Hounslow with a good squad that I believe massively in but our quality of player is not as good as the other clubs. That is said with the biggest respect to my players; I love all of them. We need to rely on big intensity, big structure, and big togetherness in our game. We definitely believe that the braver we can be and the more the players can express themselves, the better we will be.

Thomas on returning to TW8 …

We are massively looking forward to playing at home in front of our fans. All the fans that travelled away to Selhurst Park and Villa Park were amazing but we are really looking forward to continuing our good performances and making our new stadium a fortress. It was a good start against Arsenal and hopefully we can continue.

Thomas on competing in the Premier League …

We’ve played three games and there’s 35 games to go. I really hope my colleagues in the other clubs are doing their jobs and are analysing our strengths and weaknesses. Like all teams we have weaknesses and maybe we have more weaknesses than the teams we are facing. We have done well and we are pleased but we want more. I like the phrase about a bus stop in Hounslow; it is a fantastic one-liner but there is some truth in it. We have the smallest budget and the least Premier League experience in the squad. We think we can compete; we need to continue doing that.  

Our biggest focus is the next game but, before that, training tomorrow with the final tactical details going into the team. It is very important not to think too far ahead. If we are very aware of the now then we have a big opportunity to keep that positivity going.

Thomas on the mental side of the game …

The mental side is a massive part of all elite sport, especially football, when it comes to being able to cope with the pressure and being able to perform every single day. During every game there are so many disappointments; it isn’t easy. It is the best who can do that on a continuous level. We are doing a lot on the mental side; I believe a lot in it. In today’s modern society it is about keeping you on track and not getting distracted.

Thomas on using the international break wisely …

The players who go away are proud of playing for their countries, the players still at the club train hard but also get a little time off so we can all benefit from the international break.  I have learned, especially in the first week, to either take time to develop myself, get inspiration, or take some time off because I know I need my energy throughout the season.

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