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Thomas Talks… Trusting Ivan and learning

Report from the post-match written press conference after loss to Southampton

12 January 2022

Brentford endured an evening to forget on the South Coast last night, losing 4-1 to Southampton. A Vitaly Janelt goal, which brought the game back to 1-1 in the first half, was as good as it got for The Bees. Southampton regained the lead before half time and sealed the game in the second half.

The final 4-1 score line gave Brentford their biggest defeat of the season. 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..........

First half focus

Brentford have conceded the most first half goals of any Premier League side this season, and Thomas said: “It concerns me that we’ve conceded the first goal in the last six matches. That's something we need to do better because normally we defend very well.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit of a coincidence and fine margins but we didn't play a top game first half and we still only gave three chances away. Two were set pieces that we’re normally very strong at and the other was a half chance… so it's not like they created chance after chance.”

Wasting the hard work

“They scored a fine set piece goal from James Ward-Prowse’s delivery but then we came back in the game and worked so hard… when you do that you should never concede the second one.”

Staying in games

“Yes, Southampton were more on the ball. Yes, they were a little bit more on top of the game, but without being really dangerous and creating massive chances. That's why we know we need to stay in the game and defend better than we did.”

Trusting in Ivan

“He was in and around a lot of dangerous situations where the ball didn't get all the way into him, but he was definitely where he should be in the box and that’s important even if he didn’t have any massive chances. There were still a lot of dangerous situations where he was involved.

“He wasn‘t as sharp as usual and he lost too many balls compared to his normal standards, but I don't think he was the only one. It was the whole team. There were not many positive performances.”

Letting standards slip

"By our usually high levels we were too passive and a little heavy-legged, but fair play to Southampton – they did their job. Mine is now to look at our performance, and that was definitely not good enough.”

100 per cent or bust

“We know we need to be playing every second of every Premier League match at 100 per cent and we definitely didn't do that in terms of focus and winning the duels. In the first half I don’t think we won any second balls all over the pitch and on the ball we didn't take care of it in the decisive actions, which meant Southampton could built a bit of pressure.”

Timing is crucial

“We worked hard and we adjusted at half time, and then the timing of the third goal just killed us, even though we showed in a spell near the end that we could still cause them problems and put doubt in their mind when only their keeper and some top defending kept us out.”

Away wins are like buses…

“Winning away from home is definitely something we need to look into, but Leeds away we were very, very close so it’s the finest of margins that meant we didn’t win there. So sometimes we have fantastic away form and then home form, so it goes up and down.”

Win or learn… a lot

“We win or learn and after Southampton there is definitely a lot to learn. We use 24 hours maximum after games to be disappointed or happy. This will take 24 hours definitely and we’ll be very disappointed, but we need to move forward quick. We can't feel sorry for ourselves because there's a big, big task ahead of us on Sunday (when we visit Liverpool).”

No defensive doubts

“Defensively we’ve been doing really well which is good because it’s one of the big things in our game, so compared to Southampton that needs to be better.”

Good to have Kristoffer Ajer back

“He was not involved in any of the goals, and I think he actually played a decent first game back and gave us that extra edge on the ball we know he can bring. I need to watch it back, but I think he actually played a fairly good game.”

Álvaro woe

“I think the last two goals were very difficult situations with strikers one on one with the keeper running down against him you know without almost any pressure. The second one maybe he can do better but I need to look back on it.”

Soft goals not a pattern

“Soft goals frustrate me but apart from the Leicester goal on a counter attack from a set piece there hasn't been any chances like the last two goals in our first 19 games. So it's not a pattern but it's still hugely disappointing.

“Normally on defensive set pieces we’re one of the strongest teams in terms of giving very, very little away – and we should be with our physical strength – so sometimes it just happens.”

B Team defender ‘earns the right’

Fin Stevens followed up his impressive FA Cup outing at Port Vale with a Premier League debut in the defeat at St Mary’s.

“I think Fin did a decent job and he earned that in the game against Port Vale where he had very good game, especially in the first half. He is a promising young player.”

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