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Thomas Talks… our identity and repairing mistakes

Report from the post-match written press conference after Saturday's win at Watford

19 April 2022

Pontus Jansson headed in a last gasp winner as Brentford beat Watford on Saturday. The captain arrived to head home a Christian Eriksen cross in the dying seconds to give Brentford a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road. Brentford were not at their best but managed to stay in the game and get the win.

Christian Nørgaard scored early on to put The Bees in front but Watford levelled after a Video Assistant Referee check early in the second half and the game looked destined to end all square. Watford missed a golden chance late on, although it may have been offside, and when Brentford got theirs seconds later, Jansson took it. After the game, Thomas Frank spoke to the written press, Jim Levack, who has covered Brentford for many years for Press Association, among others, reports on what he had to say..........

“This is what it means!”

Pontus Jansson powered home a late winner at Vicarage Road and, beating his chest, roared out that message to the ecstatic travelling fans as the Bees edged a step nearer mathematical safety.

Thomas said: “Celebrating the win in front of our supporters was important so I pushed Pontus towards them to savour it. He’s done so many great things for this club since he decided to come here from Leeds. It’s been a fantastic three years for him and us. He and the players around him have done a fantastic job and he deserves huge praise for that.”

Nicking the win

“In football, it's very rare to have top performances and win week after week. There are days where you’re a six or seven out of ten. That was the Watford game. First half we were slightly better than them without being fantastic and in the second they had momentum and were a little bit more on top of the game without creating massive chances.

“The double chance they had was actually offside, but they still had momentum and were more on top of the game than us, but I felt there was still something in the game so to score at the end in these games is fantastic.

“In three seasons in charge I can't remember a lot of last-minute winners. Now we’ve had three this season along with games where we’ve scored in the last seven or eight minutes against Villa and Burnley. We’ve scored 13 goals in the last 15 minutes this season which is remarkable.

“That says we are unbelievably fit, that we keep going throughout the game and that the character and mentality of this group of players is incredible.”

Keeping feet on the ground

“I was irritated that we didn't play and perform well enough. I'm not extremely happy because we didn't play that well so of course I was relieved and happy for the win but still annoyed that we didn't do better.”

Nothing changing

“So far it's been a crazy and remarkable season for us. We’re now on 39 points but we will stay consistent to what we believe in just as we have all season… focusing on winning the next game and ending as high as possible.

“We always wanted to be an asset to the Premier League, to end as high as possible and to have that laser focus on the next game, and that's the reason we’ve achieved what we have. We did well in the beginning, came through the wobble and that’s why we're doing very well now. I'm just happy that we have a decent amount of points. But I want more.

“I had a big belief in us before the season and I said that to a lot of people, but we never had a target publicly and we don't have an internal target because we always focused on the next game. I didn't know how high we could finish or how difficult it could be, but I’m very pleased we are where we are.”

Injury latest

“Ethan has a hamstring injury. We don't know how bad or how good it is but we will assess be assessing it early this week. Sergi also has a minor hamstring injury but will be available in a few weeks hopefully, and Zanka picked up a minor muscle injury in the thigh.”

Eriksen stepping up…

“He was very influential with a top delivery for the goal. You need a big player to step up for the moment and produce a goal.

“He’s working extremely hard for the team and distributed the ball well but there were a few times where he would probably be critical of himself over making a better decision and a few shots from outside the box where normally he’s an even bigger threat, so a solid game… he’s performing at a good level more or less all the time.”

Thomas was asked once again about whether Christian Eriksen might stay in TW8.

“He is very happy, he’s enjoying his football, enjoying going to work and playing for the team and he's part of a team. He loves that and you can see if you look some of the celebrations pictures that he has a big smile on his face. I think that's a positive sign.

“But I don't think there'll be any decision before the end of the season. Will there be talks either way? Yes probably but there won’t be any decisions.”

… and Mads Bech stepping in

“He deserves praise because it's not easy to be a little bit down the pecking order behind slightly more experienced players waiting for your chance. Then when we have minor injuries you need to take your chance and be ready when you’re called upon, and he's done that very well. He trains with a very good mentality and is a top professional every day.”

Performances or points?

“Performance is extremely important. If we perform badly in the next five and win of course we'll be happy with that, but you just know that can turn so performances are very important. And if we can link them to results then that’s fantastic.”

Improving in the summer

“Every year for the last five years we’ve tried to improve the team. The first couple of years were very difficult because we didn't have that much money to spend and had to sell players and that's actually been the process throughout. Hopefully with the money for staying in the Premier League I think we will do what we've always done… try to improve the team a bit next year as well.”

Creating an identity

“I believe massively in clubs where there’s a clear strategy and everything is aligned from top to bottom and no matter what happens, you stick to it. That's why we've been successful and I'm almost 100 per cent sure – though you can never be 100 per cent in football – that even if our bad form had continued and for whatever reason we couldn't turn it around, I’d have stayed stay in the job and tried to build again.

“There can be various reasons for changing the head coach or manager but if you're happy with the head coach and everything, I believe massively in consistency and good and calm decisions.”

Set piece quality

“Everyone works together on it and a lot of lot of hours go into that with the small details constantly being corrected. When we nail it, it’s very nice. We had two well worked set pieces at Watford. It looks easy, but everyone was in the right position.”

Desire

“Willingness and desire to work hard are crucial. It's about structure and hard work and that togetherness. It’s a big thing when everyone is willing to sacrifice themselves for each other… the good teams always repair each other's mistakes. I keep praising Ivan for that and I don't know if he gets enough praise for it.

“There are a lot of characters and real leaders in this group of players. Kristoffer Ajer summed it up when he said this is a dressing room you’re willing to die for. We’re willing to die for each other in every single game and you can see that.”

 


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