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Thomas Talks… No target setting and learning from Seagulls

Report from the post-match written press conference after Villa victory

3 January 2022

Brentford came from a goal down to start 2022 with a memorable win over Aston Villa. The Bees trailed after a difficult opening to the contest but battled back as Yoane Wissa struck a superb equaliser before Mads Roerslev scored the winner late on 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, reports on what Thomas had to say...........

Solid foundation

“It was a very tight game where we nicked the win in the end, so I was very pleased. We were bad especially in the first half and especially on the ball. We played too slow, didn't play forward enough and struggled to create anything. On the flip side we gave one goal away but besides that we were difficult to break down, so that's a good foundation.”

Unbelievable mentality

“Second half we managed to stay in the game but were still not great on the ball and we didn't create a lot. We lacked a little bit of a cutting edge but managed to create some moments at the end of the game and got the goal, so as a whole I think that's an unbelievable mentality from us.”

A Brentford success story

Mads Roerslev’s first ever club goal sealed the points late on and Thomas said: “It’s a fantastic Brentford story and a great story in general. It’s classic Brentford where we buy a young player that hadn't played a full season ever in his career for any team. And then we build him over time and now he’s made four or five starts in the Premier League and is still growing, so it was a great assist and an even better goal.”

Right place, right time

“We want our wing backs to attack the last line and want Mads to be a winger in the box, so he was exactly where he should be when Shandon Baptiste dropped the ball off. It was a decent first shot and an even better second.”

Top character

“We constantly talk about hard work. togetherness and attitude and they showed that in abundance. In the first half hour we definitely struggled on the ball. It was just bad, slow, not top, but we still managed to give very few chances away and really defended well so we had that foundation in the second half when we were a bit better, without being fantastic, on the ball. That resilience shows we have a top character.”

Defining moments

“Sometimes you need that magic from some of your players and Yoane showed that with a great first goal. Then we scored again and they had the Ings chance where Álvaro made a fantastic safe and we saw the game out. So maybe it was more of a draw today but at Villa Park it was more a tight win to us, but we only got a point.”

Limiting chances

“In the second half right up until we scored, I don't think Villa bothered us and didn't create anything. Maybe they looked a tiny bit more dangerous once we went ahead but never created anything.”

Injuries…

Sergi Canós and Mathias Jensen both limped off with injuries and both will be assessed early this week.

“Mathias has something with the hip. I really hope it's a minor one, that’s what I expect, and Sergi’s was something with the hamstring but I don't know how bad it is so we will assess them.”

… and battling through them

“We have quite a few injuries already which makes it even more impressive that that we managed to get through this game with three points. We’ve been unbelievably hard done by with injuries to key players if you look across more or less any other team, apart from maybe Leeds. That’s hit us very hard so massive praise to the team for getting so many points - and actually over 19 games we should have had more, which is crazy.”

Nørgaard discipline

“We know Christian is pretty good at getting these yellows but also, so far, good at not getting the second yellow. Having discipline is very important because he's playing in the middle of the park, he’s won the most tackles in the Premier League and he’s getting into so many 50-50 duels so it's easy to get a second yellow, or maybe an unfair second yellow for whatever reason. So you need to stay extremely disciplined and have fantastic decision making, and his is bang on.”

Slow start mystery

“I don't know why. We wanted to start fast but we just looked so slow in every action. We never managed to get in and the body language was low. I don't know why.”

Learning from Seagulls

“It was always going to be mentality that won us this game because we knew it would be tight. I told them that hopefully it's going to be like Watford and Everton where we started well, kept going and pure determination and moving the ball well won us the games. But I said it could be like Brighton and then we need to stay in the game. If you concede, don’t concede a second one. And it was more or less like Brighton, except we didn't concede the second one and had a bit of magic from Wissa and then such strong mentality in the second half.”

Versatility

“We wanted to play one of our players most of the time as an offensive wingback and around five of the crosses in the first half came from Sergi Canós against (Matty) Cash and we knew that that could be a good situation. We wanted to keep doing that and know that Saman Ghoddos is really good on the ball, so it shows a lot about the versatility we have in the squad, but also the flexibility players have as individuals.”

Stepping up

“Sometimes you need that magic moment in a game where it’s not happening. We were definitely low on quality and energy first half for whatever reason – that happens – but then you need some of the players to step up and make something magical. When we needed that the most Wissa did that and it changed the momentum.”

Still no targets

“I don’t know if we’re above where we expected to be but of course I know all about the 40 points blah blah blah, but we haven't set a points target. It is literally next game and end as high as possible. But I agree 19 games, 23 points taking into consideration all the injuries, should mean massive praise to the team for getting so many points.”

And still wanting more

“I think looking over the 19 games we actually deserved more points, which is crazy. So I want to praise players that have stepped in and performed in the Premier League because they and the whole squad have been quite remarkable.”

Contract boost

“I’m very pleased with Christian (Nørgaard) signing a new extended contract as he’s been pivotal to the ride of Brentford, and I think Pontus (Jansson) is another who has been fantastic and we will assess a lot of our players this coming spring.”


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