Brentford visit Swansea in the first leg of the Championship semi final. Besides what can be said or written about the Bees’ frustrating defeat against Barnsley on Wednesday, the truth is that Brentford keep relying on themselves to access Premier League promised land.
Therefore, as manager Thomas Frank reflected on a meeting with the coaching staff after the Barnsley defeat, and the importance of sending the message to the players of getting the defeat “out of their system.”
As anything in life, the pains of football are left behind by going through them. From what Frank transmitted the day before the first leg against Swansea, is that Brentford has had time to “feel the f-ing pain,” something which the manager considers to be positive since the team has been able to get Wednesday’s upset “out of the system.”
“What I try to say to them (the players) is that when something is not working for me, I just like to get more f****** irritated,” said a manager who is looking forward to healing wounds in the upcoming fixtures.
The truth of the matter is that Brentford rely solely on themselves and not on external results to get a Premier League promotion; a situation that their fan base would have surely ridden along if told so last September.
The Bees have scored 14 goals and received only five after coming back from lockdown on June 20th, a record which Frank says is partially thanks to the team’s shape.
Despite the negative results in the two last matches of the regular season and an exhaustive campaign of nine fixtures in 32 days, Frank says to have no worries if the team is running out of steam “because you always have more energy, steam or power than what you think.”
As undeniable as Brentford’s fantastic campaign is regardless of what happens going forward, the squad has given the club an identity of an associative and attacking football.
“I think it is extremely important that we stick to our identity and our philosophy, and that is what we are trying to do; we like to change, we like to build, we like to dominate the game and the ball, and we try to press.”
When asked for the mood of the team heading into Sunday, Frank was less discrete than Swansea’s manager Steve Copper, who earlier in the week said to be “happy to be Championship play-off underdogs.”
Copper’s tranquility and relaxed tone contrasts with Frank’s confrontational tone towards the game.
When asked if Copper’s passivity going into Sunday’s game against Brentford, Frank referenced the fact that Swansea played Premier League football between 2011 and 2018.
“I think that Swansea have bigger dreams than other teams and they have been in the Premier League. I see a team with quality, obliged to play football similar to us and I think that they feel ‘we are close’ so they can say ‘we can play with freedom’ but when the referee blows we’ll see what’s on,” said Frank.
Brentford finished third in the Championship’s regular season table, 11 points ahead of Swansea, who got a play-off berth after climbing to the sixth place at the final match day over Nottingham Forest.
The Bees will try to showcase their fast and dynamic football up front and gain advantage for the second leg scheduled to take place on Wednesday July 29 at Griffin Park. The other Championship play-off series features another West London-Wales matchup between Fulham and Cardiff City.