Ten-man Brentford slipped to defeat against Newcastle United on Saturday. The Bees played almost the entire contest a man down after Josh Dasilva was sent off 11 minutes in. The visitors scored two goals in the first half and then saw it out in the second half.
Brentford defended their penalty area well for long periods of the first half and it took Newcastle until the half hour mark to find a way through. They scored a second on the counter-attack and that was enough to give them the points. 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, was on the call and reports on what he had to say..........
“It’s a completely random situation. I understand with VAR and the perception of it why it’s given, but everyone who knows and understands football can see he’s tried to step in front of the ball and put his foot down and then unfortunately hit the player’s leg. There’s no malice or intent – he’s not that kind of person or player.
“I don't know of it’s one or three games we lose him for. If he gets three that’s a disaster that we’d have to handle. I could understand if it's a situation where he’s flying in, kicking someone down or lashing out, but for me that can never be three games. I don’t have an answer to how you can change it (VAR) in the future, but I’d like someone with knowledge of football law to look into how it works.
“Hopefully Josh’s ban will take into account the fact that he has clearly not deliberately kicked him down, because all you media guys know Josh and he’s not like that.”
“The VAR decision affected the game. Playing 10 against 11 for 80 minutes is tough, but I can’t praise the players highly enough for their effort, character and mentality throughout the game. They never stopped working and while we have that mentality, we can achieve.”
“Both goals were avoidable. For the first we need to defend better and the second, we should never be letting in. I’d have loved us to have had a better chance of staying in the game to maybe take a point because you just never know how the rest of the game would have turned out if they put more pressure on us.”
Christian Eriksen’s return
“It was a big moment for everyone involved in football. It was fantastic to see the big reception. The Newcastle fans were fantastic. All our fans were fantastic as usual. It was a huge moment for Christian and his family, and it was lovely and very heart-warming to see.”
“He’ll give us something to build on. I've been privileged to see him training in the last few weeks where you see his qualities and glimpses of brilliance… his passing, touch, balls in behind, crosses, deliveries so I’m pleased the fans saw signs of that with his perfect pass that cut through the lines. I'm convinced that will 100% help us going forward. He is a top player that I'm convinced will add big value to the team.”
“Of course was important to be able to put Ivan on the pitch… a real positive. He got a little contact knock so let’s see how this week pans out, but he started on the bench because fitness-wise he wasn’t able to play 100 per cent for more than 30 minutes.”
Luck will turn
“We know football is a random game in many situations and I don't think we’ve had one win or one point this season where we’ve thought ‘how lucky was that?”. Not once. There have been times where we’ve drawn but should have won and haven’t. Is that coincidence? Is that quality? Is that luck? Cleverer people and the experts can come to a conclusion on that, but for us it’s always about putting performances in.”
Players’ up for the fight
“I see them train every day, I see them coming to the training ground and there's a good mindset. They’re very positive. And they give their lives, the players. They put their all into it and it's not quite going their way at the moment. It’s irritating but I’m absolutely convinced we will be fine.”
“The plan was to aim for this game at first but If his progress was unbelievable, then maybe as a substitute in the Arsenal game and we’d see from there. Of course if he looks good and there were a lot of great signs against Newcastle, then I think everyone expects him to start and I would look at that of course when he's up to speed. He’s a top player and if he’s ready I will start him.”
Breaking the run
“It’s tough, I won't lie. If someone losing seven out of eight doesn’t think it’s tough, then they either have no emotions or they don’t care. I hate losing. Your body is burning when you lose, but it’s about having that discipline and resilience to get through it and that's why I think our rule of not dwelling on a win or a defeat for more than 24 hours helps. Because the sun will come up tomorrow.”
“Of course it’s frustrating for me, but that's just the heat of the moment especially when you’ve put everything into it. And when you look at what's happening in the world to people involved in the terrible war in Ukraine, that’s much worse. It’s tough not winning games but you need to look at things like that to put things in perspective and keep a calm head and keep moving forward.”
Remaining totally confident
“I’m convinced we'll be fine with the performances I've seen so far this season. And there are many more positives coming, especially now Christian and Ivan are getting closer to full fitness. Josh is a blow and it seems things are constantly happening to us and not going our way, but it is what it is and we need to be positive and go forward.”
“Christian is a very easy player to manage. Calm, down to earth, humble, he trains hard, works hard and wants to do the best for the team. The pass he made to Ivan is what we've seen in training, with crosses, top deliveries, assists and scoring in the small-sided games with left foot and right foot. He's just showing his quality and hopefully he can show that even more in the coming games.
“I think the squad can see how good a player he is and how he’s getting closer to full fitness. Everyone wants to play with good players because it helps and improves them and the team. So that's really good for everyone.”
Drawing a line
“I completely understand that because of what happened to Christian his return was a very big day and recording his emotions was important, but hopefully now he’s played his first game he’ll be allowed to let his feet do the talking.
“Now I think he really wants to just speak about football and be a normal footballer even though he’ll never be a normal player because of what happened. But for him to speak more about football and less about what happened is important.”