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"It will be the team who pick up that second ball and has that final quality who will win"

Thomas Frank looks ahead to our Southampton clash

11 January 2022

Latest Team News …

Sergi Canós and Mathias Jensen will be available which is positive.

We hope and aim that Rico Henry will be available for Sunday.

There’s relatively good news [on Zanka]. At least he is out, part-training with the group. That is progress and positive. Hopefully, he can soon join in the group.

Josh Dasilva’s progress …

I said to Josh the other day that he could be our best signing this year; when he comes back it will be a new player with top quality. I really hope he comes back in a fantastic place. We are on track with him; he is progressing fine. He trained with the team yesterday. Today he didn’t because he wouldn’t benefit from a short matchday minus one session. Hopefully, in five or six weeks, if everything goes to plan, he could potentially be available. We need to build him very carefully and strong. He needs to have a proper pre-season to load him well. We can’t get over-excited, but everything has been fine so far. The medical staff have been fantastic and done a top job. I have been speaking quite a lot with him during this period. I have been sending him quite a few podcasts either about leadership or from players with a similar story. I’ve tried to give him a bit to get involved in. Every day he’s come in I’ve just said, ‘Josh, looking forward to having you back’ and given him a hug.

Defensive selection decisions …

Mads Bech has done fantastically, and it is a brilliant story for us with a player coming through the B Team to become a full-time member of the first-team squad. He played more than half the games in the Championship last season and did fantastic. Now he’s played five games on the bounce and done really well. He is a player that we believe in. Kristoffer Ajer is a player that we also like to have in. I like to have a right-footer to the right, that’s no secret. Kris will play some of the games in the next spell, it is just when do I throw him in there.

Thoughts at the halfway stage …

It’s been a good first-half. We’ve tried to become an asset to the Premier League and tried to attack it by being positive and brave. Looking back on our performances we could have got a few more points which is quite impressive. Taking our injury list into account, it has been good. That is looking backwards; we are only looking forward, one game at a time with a massive focus to see if we can get three points tomorrow.

I have only two targets; one is to be extremely focussed on the next game and two is to try to end as high as possible. We need to maximise every single day.

Southampton …

Southampton are a good, experienced Premier League side. Ralph Hasenhüttl and his coaching staff have done a top job down there. His team is very well organised and well drilled. We know they will, most likely, come with a 4-4-2, although they could go 3-4-3. The energy and structure in their middle-high press is very impressive; they go very front-footed and are at some stages the best high-pressing, energy team in the league. Then they have some key players; James Ward-Prowse is maybe the best set-piece taker in the league and maybe the best right-footed direct free-kick taker in the world.  

Southampton are a very good team; they are very well-drilled and difficult to play against because they come with that intensity. They maybe weren’t in the best form but the last five or six games they look very sharp. The intensity is back in their pressure and the structure is bang on. Both teams will press high; it will be the team who pick up that second ball and has that final quality who will win the game. We will do our best to go there and win it, but it will be tough.

We’ve gone into every game and proved so far that we have a chance to get points every single time. Hopefully, we can bring that confidence to tomorrow against Southampton. We know it is going to be very tough and there will be spells where we need to defend very well. Hopefully, we can have longer spells where we can put pressure on them.

January plans …

We are always looking to see if we can strengthen the squad. We are not in a massive hurry or in a massive need. I’m satisfied with the squad and have been since the beginning of the season. We need to get a few players out on loan to maximise their game-time and potential.   

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