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Thomas Talks… Justice and fighting to the end

Report from the post-match written press conference after United defeat

20 January 2022

Brentford conceded three second half goals as they were beaten by Manchester United. The Bees were dominant in the first half and created enough chances to have been well ahead at the break but United got to half time level, responded after the interval, and got the win. Ivan Toney pulled one back for Brentford but that proved to be only a consolation in the end.

After the game, Thomas Frank spoke to the written press via a video call. Manchester United boss Ralf Ragnik did the same. Jim Levack, who has covered Brentford for many years for Press Association, among others, reports on what they had to say..........

Taking pride in the performance

“I'm incredibly proud of the performance and the team and I hope every Brentford fan is too. I can't remember seeing a side apart from Liverpool that has destroyed Manchester United like we did in the first half this season, so that's very impressive. The fans who stayed on could see that too which was good for the players to see. That's the part of the game we need to take forward.”

Goals changing games

“Goals change the momentum of games but if you look at the overall performance for 90 minutes there could only be one winner and that was us. The only thing they deserved was a draw. If you look at the whole game it underlines that need to take your chances. But it is what it is, and you need to learn from it.”

Justice not done

“I have a very high awareness or feeling of justice and injustice and I think we didn't get what we deserved. The players feel the same, but you get past it and the sun will rise again tomorrow. When they’ve worked so hard and don't get what they deserve it's tough, but that happens in football and over the course of a season it will even out.”

Destroying The Red Devils

“I’m unbelievably proud of the team and my players. The way we absolutely destroyed Manchester United in the first half was very, very impressive. We had six chances to their zero.”

The Brentford way

“We played the Brentford way… aggressive, front footed, wanting to play positive, wanting to take the ball forward. It's a miracle United weren’t two down at half time. David de Gea did a fine job which he’s done the whole season – he was by far their best player.”

Fighting to the end

“They showed a bit of quality and that changed the momentum of the game, so of course, we will look at ourselves and try to do that better. But the 2-0 goal was the one we needed to avoid to stay in the game. The second and third goals we need to avoid. But my boys always keep fighting and keep running and they did that to the very end.”

Marvellous Matty

Danish midfielder Mathias Jensen had one of his best games in a Brentford shirt but was repeatedly thwarted by the heroics of United goalkeeper de Gea.

“I think I'll get Mathias some one on one training with the keepers this week. He was our best player until he was subbed off for Shandon Baptiste to get some fresh legs in the team.”

Goals will come

“We will keep working hard on adding quality to the chances we create, and I believe that if we keep producing chances like we did against United, then then we will score.”

Snapshot season

“The players aren’t affected (by the recent run) because all the games are snapshots. We went away to Southampton and that was one game, one history and a performance I was not happy with.

“Then Liverpool at Anfield… Arsenal lost there 4-0 so I don't think we can be too down on that one. When I look at the first 60 minutes there where we did fantastically, that's the performance I take with me.”

Consistency is key

“Against United, especially in the first half, we were unbelievable. If we can play like that for the rest of the season we’ll have no problem. So it's about playing more good minutes consistently throughout the season.”

Ivan getting back to his best

“It's important to take into consideration that Ivan had COVID and was out for 14 days, and I'm pretty sure that affected his performance as against Villa and Southampton where I think he was below par. Against Liverpool and Man United I think he was up to his normal standards and he got a goal that will do him the world of good.”

Springboard for success

“The way we destroyed Manchester United in the first half was very impressive and we should have been two up, so it's all about taking these really positive bits into the next game - that's the only way to do it.”

Jonas’ calming influence

Jonas Lössl was selected in goal. It was his second Brentford appearance and first for The Bees in the Premier League.

“He had a fine performance. Strong presence, calm and good distribution. He couldn’t really do too much about the three goals.”

Frustrating times

“Of course the players are frustrated. It’s always like that when you don't get what you deserve and you’ve performed too. I'm also frustrated of course but we’ll handle it for 24 hours and then we need to move on again.”

Ralf Rangnick: ‘We were second best’

United boss Ralf Ragnick also spoke to the media.

“Without David’s brilliant saves it would have been difficult to have a clean sheet at halftime. The first half was not good. We were second best in almost all aspects of the game. Sloppy passing, not strong enough in the in the centre of the pitch and we were losing almost all 50-50 situations. We didn't win a single second ball in the first half.”

United boss hails Bees’ bravery

“Brentford played extremely aggressively, extremely bravely and pressed us high and I have to admit that after the first half, we couldn't have complained if we’d been 2-0 down. They make it so difficult the way they play… extremely proactive and with a lot of physicality.”

Brentford success “no coincidence”

“We knew that they’d be like from the start, we’d seen them play and it's no coincidence that they beat teams like Arsenal and dominated them. So we were fully aware what kind of game it was going to be. In the first half, we were second best in all in all aspects of the game.”

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