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Thomas Talks… Looking up and staying grounded

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

14 March 2022

Ivan Toney scored twice in the last five minutes as Brentford beat Burnley. The Bees probably had slightly the better of the game, but it looked like it would end all square before Toney powered home a Christian Eriksen cross and then won and converted a penalty to secure a 2-0 win. 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 he had to say..........

Results evening out

“If you look at the 90 minutes overall then if there should have been a narrow winner, it was us. We played here against Brighton [and Hove Albion in September] and should have definitely been the narrow winner but we lost 1-0 after a quality moment from [Leandro] Trossard. This time it was us through a quality moment from Christian and a good header from Ivan.

“We got a win and every win in the Premier League is such a big thing because it's so, so difficult. And now we’ve managed to do it in two extremely important games, so that’s a huge credit to the players.

“Being consistent and calm is important, but of course inside you can feel your feelings. After losing to Newcastle I thought we were hard done by with the red card after ten minutes and now the feeling after two wins is two completely different worlds. But all the credit has to go to the players and staff for staying calm throughout everything and performing when we needed it.”

Wanting more

“Like the fans we are happy and pleased, but even after a good performance like that I still want us to be even better on the ball. I still think we lacked a little composure or coolness on the ball, especially the first half. But there were moments where we did exactly what we wanted to… switching the play and creating opportunities for Sergi and Bryan, so that was pleasing.”

World class Nørgaard

Christian Nørgaard covered almost every inch of the pitch, mopping up second balls and sparking counter attacks before being withdrawn near the end.

Thomas said: “It wasn’t tactical, he was just done. He had a few issues with his stomach over the last few days and was just completely and utterly empty.”

Defensive lionhearts

“Ethan and Pontus did brilliantly in looking after Wout Weghorst and Maxwel Cornet because they were difficult to handle with every ball just turning behind you and then a runner that is quicker than you. They did fantastically throughout the day - gave nothing away. There were two or three crucial interceptions from Ethan, but they only got the chance for Cornet after a big mistake by us.”

Flashes of genius…

“Christian Eriksen showed the top quality he has with the cross for the goal. We've seen it a few times this season against us, like De Bruyne’s unbelievable cross for their goal here. Against Burnley we had the quality from Christian and in a flash it’s 1-0 to us.”

… and they’ll become more frequent

“Christian is close to being back to his very best. I think the last five or ten per cent is so difficult to get to because it takes time and game rhythm to be in that situation where you’re constantly able to produce. There’s more to come from him in terms of that little bit of extra sharpness in the decisive moments, so I think he’s at a good level, but the last bit will take some time.

“For me, his signing was never a gamble. I was convinced he would help us. If we could sign him I knew it would be a fantastic addition and maybe the best signing ever for Brentford or maybe one of the most important, depending on how you measure it.”

Meaning what we say… win or lose

“I have always said that we've been taking one game at a time and that we want to end as high as possible. I know that sounds much better after a good start and a little bit more difficult to say after eight games without a win, but actually that's what we mean. We have massive focus on the next game and I think that's giving us the chance to do what we're doing, so there will be no complacency here.”

More to come from Ivan

“He started the season well, caught COVID and his level dropped and then he finally got back to it and got injured. Then he needed to come up to speed and with strikers you can’t plan when the goals are coming so maybe it’s three or four games not scoring. And now they're coming again.

“He’s showing that level he showed at the beginning of the season, but I also think there's more to come from him. Definitely.”

Fervent fans

“In general they have been really, really good throughout the season. I think they were immense at Norwich last week and I think they were fantastic again against Burnley.

“I really hope we can keep this spirit and atmosphere. I know we are new to the Premier League and everything is exciting, but it’s rock and roll and the stadium is bouncing after we win and that’s fantastic.

“We can't take anything for granted in this world as the terrible events in Ukraine are proving. So to celebrate a win every time is massive and we should never get bored or tired and will continue to do that in future.”

Rico rocket

“I’ve never seen Rico Henry beaten in a one-on-one race so I wasn’t surprised he won his situations with Aaron Lennon. And Kristoffer did a very good job in all his one on ones and running duels with Dwight McNeil he did ell to close him down.

“He’s played that full back position before but I think he's better centre back of course. I think he's doing a top job a little bit out of position and I he's growing a little bit game by game.”

Sergi flourishing

“He did fine against Norwich and did well against Burnley. He had some very good positions where we wanted him and Bryan to both be wide and produced about six crosses and one of them definitely created the big change for Bryan in the first half. He was very aware of switching the ball to Bryan which we've talked about a lot, he was aggressive in the press and played with big personality.”

Not getting carried away

“It won’t be a problem (keeping the players feet on the ground). I expect it will be easy because this group of players are very, very hungry, very ambitious. By now we are already looking ahead to the next game.

“We’ve always said we want to finish as high as possible, so we’re always looking to catch the team above us because it’s better to look forward and chase someone instead of looking at what’s behind you.

“It sounds very good when I'm saying it. It’s not that easy to do every single day but it’s the best possible mentality you can have, so we will do whatever we can and will not rest until we’ve played the last game against Leeds.”

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