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Thomas Talks… Togetherness and Brentford’s Kanté

Report from the post-match written press conference after cup win

9 January 2022

Brentford reached the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round with a 4-1 win over Port Vale yesterday. Marcus Forss put The Bees in front and Bryan Mbeumo came off the substitute's bench to score a hat-trick and seal progress to the last 32. 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 Thomas had to say..........

Quality shone through

“I was very pleased because we know these FA Cup games are difficult and we knew it could be a tough place to come. First half we were excellent, with the counter pressing, attitude and mentality spot on. We scored a good goal, controlled things completely and didn't give Vale a sniff, but this is the FA Cup and the second half we started badly, they were more direct and ran at us and they created that special FA Cup atmosphere. They scored the 2-1 goal and put us a little under pressure but in the end we, and especially Bryan Mbeumo, showed our quality.”

Supersub Bryan

“He was brilliant and I must say he’s been the same for us this year in the Premier League. He’s done really well after coming back from injury. We knew he wanted to play in the Cup to be in with a chance of being ready for Tuesday at Southampton and he's just come in with three quality finishes. Very composed.”

Valiant Vale

“Massive praise to Vale and Darrell Clarke and his staff because I thought they made it difficult for us. In that spell they had if they’d got another, anything could have happened, but we were strong mentally and came through it. We played a strong team and had an extremely strong bench because we want to progress in this tournament.”

Bang on mentality

“I said before the game that attitude and mentality would be the most important thing because if the bigger teams are coming into a game like this without that, they will find it hard. It’s always all about mentality and ours was bang on. Then of course we have a tiny bit more quality and if we didn't, it could be very difficult.”

Not just rocking up

“I'm so pleased and proud of my team that they just did it because it's not a case of saying ‘we’ll just turn up here, win and go home’ because the difference between professional players is very small and if you're not bang on you can’t do it.”

Culture is everything

“For me the culture of our club is more or less everything. Of course we like to play in a specific way, but the mentality behind that is so important. Sometimes when you play games like we did against Eastbourne with players who don’t normally start, maybe they don't want to run. But we have a culture where they just go out and perform because we’re on top of them every day, and they’re on top of each other every day.

“That’s why I’m pleased that in the three years I’ve been here the only time we’ve lost in the Cup (against a lower ranked team) was against Cambridge United on penalties [in the EFL Cup in 2019], but it hasn’t happened in ordinary time. That’s a good signal of how much we're on it.”

Time in legs v balance

“We wanted to win but we also wanted to get some minutes into people’s legs. With Kristoffer Ajer 60 minutes was the plan and Vitaly has been out, so it was fine for him to play a decent amount of time. So we still managed to get the win and get some of the more experienced players on the pitch because we like to get them going, so hopefully you continue how we left off going into the next game.”

Cup congestion? Not an issue

“Last year we showed that we really wanted to do well in the Carabao Cup in the most congested Championship season ever because of COVID and we also wanted to have a real go this year where we got to the quarter final and went toe to toe with Chelsea, so I want to go far in the FA Cup again. I like to nail the balance and still have maximum focus on the next game and then once you get into a rhythm it takes care of itself.”

Morale and togetherness

“Mixing and matching the team is very important for morale and togetherness so everyone feels a part of it. That’s so important. When you play these games you need to get the balance right because if you want to achieve anything it's not just about the 11… it’s the 25 who will help you do that.

“We want to give someone minutes but we also want to play a strong enough team – for example I wanted to get Shandon Baptiste on the pitch because he is in a good place. So yes, nail that balance but at the same time win and perform the best we can.”

Marcus on the mark

“I thought Marcus Forss was brilliant in his pressing and intensity. And the goal. Wow. He has a bright future ahead of him because he’s a great goalscorer, but unfortunately we can't give him enough minutes at this moment in time, which is why he needs to go and play minutes week in, week out to take the next step forward.”

Fin-tastic

“I was very pleased with Fin Stevens. He was brilliant, especially in the first half as a wing back with some fantastic passing and crossing, and he was always calm.”

Easing Kris back

“He could have played 90 minutes but we’re very keen on getting it right with the number of sprints and runs he does because it was a hamstring issue. He’s fine and fit but we just want to build him up in the right way.

“There was a reason we paid quite a bit of money for him. He’s a great centre back who offers something special especially when you pay with an outside centre back because he's so good at carrying the ball, running through lines and dribbling and passing. He’s a big thing for the offensive part of our play, so it’s good to have him back.”

Mads Kanté

“One of Mads Bidstrup’s strengths is that he has such a big engine. He reminds me a bit of N’Golo Kanté at Chelsea and that's a big, big claim of course. His ability to press and cover so many yards across the pitch is fantastic and that acceleration when he just goes past people, I think that's so good in the pressure.

“He just needs to get the experience right. He got caught out a few times but when he carries the ball past players and then plays, he does that so well.”

MPH up to speed

“It was nice to see Myles Peart-Harris on on the pitch. He’s a good talent we believe a lot in but he still needs to adapt to a few things. It's only his first half year in the club and although they’re the same age Fin Stevens has been with us and training with us for one and a half years and that makes a difference.”


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