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Thomas Talks… Lacking coolness and recognising Rico

Report from the post-match written press conference after Old Trafford loss

4 May 2022

Brentford’s four-game unbeaten run came to end as they were beaten by Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Bees started very brightly but conceded the first goal and were never able to work their way back in to the game. 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..........

Frustrating evening

“I was a bit disappointed because we could have performed even better, especially in the first half. We started fantastically well for the first five minutes and then United were more on top of the game without really creating chance after chance apart from the one top moment for the 1-0 goal.

“Credit to United for the opening goal, but we had three against one in the box so it should have been possible to avoid.”

Lacking bravery and coolness

“We lacked a little bravery in the pressure to go when we went and go all the way and be aggressive. We should have been cooler on the ball but in spells we were too hectic. Fair play to United. They hit a very high performance level in the first half and it was one the better performances I've seen so far from them.”

Building momentum

“In the second half it was more the Brentford team I want to see… much more front-footed, better on the ball, moving it better, playing more forward, switching the ball and producing crosses. We had momentum, with chances or half chances and were definitely on top. Then we make an unnecessary mistake for the penalty and that went some way to killing the game off.”

Staying in games

“We’ve been really good at that recently and if you want to win at Old Trafford you have to stay in the game, so we can’t give away that penalty and we can’t concede on set pieces.”

Recognising Rico

“It was a silly penalty, but this season Rico has been great as a left wing back and full back. From my perspective, he’s one of the best defensive fullbacks in the Premier League. I don't think I've seen a player go past him in a one-on-one situation.

“He's normally very good defending so he made a mistake. It is what it is. You learn from that, but it was clever play by Ronaldo and it was definitely a penalty.”

Toney’s trio

“Knowing him as I do he'll be disappointed with himself. He had three good opportunities where he could have scored or gone close. Maybe three goals would have been a little bit too much to ask for, but at least one. And we know in a game like this, you need to seize these moments, but we couldn't.”

Christian staying? Part 21.

Asked how he communicates with his Danish counterpart Christian Eriksen over the possibility of staying at Brentford next season, Thomas said: “I think it's very simple. I speak to him. We’re presenting our plans and then we discuss it back and forth and then I think it's very simple, but I guess he will make a decision at the end of the season.

“I'm always positive. I always believe we have a very good chance, I know he's very happy here, he's enjoying his football and loves being at Brentford.”

Never give the ball away

“There were a few times when we defended low, won the ball and we weren’t good enough to take care of it to find those two or three safe passes and progress up the pitch. We did okay building from the back but in spells we didn't have the composure or the quality. Maybe we just didn't hit the highest level on the night.”

Dealing with balls in behind

“That was disappointing because it’s the thing we’ve normally been really good at dealing with. So we definitely have to learn to be even more aware of those balls. But when you look at our normal defensive standards, we’re better than that.”

Checking statistics

“Our touches in the box showed that we attacked throughout the game and had an intention to go forward to look to win. Unfortunately, those goals that changed the momentum dropped for United. If they hadn’t got the penalty I have a feeling we’d have been a bit closer to doing something.”

Staying disciplined

“In the first game against United we defended brilliantly, and they scored around 60 minutes but before that didn't have a shot. What we lacked in that game after the first 60 was that discipline.

“You need to stay unbelievably focused and not give them the next two goals which we did in the first game. In this game we kept that discipline better but made a big mistake for the second goal.”

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