Brentford manager Thomas Frank aims to celebrate twelve months in charge at Griffin Park with a win over Millwall on Saturday. Frank has had a testing time since his arrival in west London, a serious knee injury to winger Sergi Canos in the 1-0 loss at Nottingham Forest prior to the international break did not help matters and affected his plans considerably. However the Dane believes that his team are on track and will soon benefit from the effort put in on the training pitch. The new stadium due to open next season is just one of the reasons to be optimistic for Frank and all Bees fans.
Frank has seen progression for the Bees this season
“I think in life and in football if you put a lot of effort into things and you don’t think you’ll get the reward, it’s always a mental challenge not to get too frustrated. But no, especially when you look at the performances that, we are on track. I just told the players today, we are on track in terms of what we want to do, in terms of what we want to do and in terms of performance. But very important, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves because we thought or think we deserved more. The only two ways out of this, two key areas, for me to do. One is to keep our head down, keep working hard, even harder to transform those good performances into three points. The second thing, a top attitude no matter what we do, I have massive belief in this squad, these players, it’s just a matter of time it will click. We’ve seen some very good examples, against Derby at home, against Barnsley away, also Bristol at home, that we are close to get to where we want to.”
The 3-1 win at Barnsley at the end of September took Brentford to within six points off the play off places. Currently however the Bees lie four points off the drop zone and two places behind the visiting Lions who are on 14 points. Neil Harris stepped down from his tenure at the Den on 3rdOctober with Millwall now seeking to appoint a replacement as soon as they are able to. Adam Barrett, Gary Rowett and Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth reportedly being considered. Despite any uncertainty this may bring, Frank said that his side will be ready.
“I think it’s a good challenge for us. The more we have the ball, the better we will defend. But also we’ve proven this year so many times that we are much better and a very good defending side. We know that yes there’ll be set pieces, there will be some second ball situations and there will also be some defending of the ball to stop the crosses. That’s the three key areas we’re focusing on that we need to be defending well and then we can minimise that if we have the ball more.
“It’s a good challenge for us. The more we have the ball, the better we will defend, but also we’ve proven this year, so many times that we are much better and a very good defending side. We know that yes they’ll be [good at]set pieces, there will be some second ball situations and there will also be some defending of the ball to stop the crosses. That’s the three key areas we’re focusing on that we need to be defending well and then we can minimise that if we have the ball more.”
Reflecting on his year at Brentford, Frank accepts that much work remains to be done, but nevertheless he is confident that the Bees will deliver in the Championship
Frank’s message is getting across to his players
“I would say for me personally it’s been a great 12 months I appreciate and enjoy every single day, especially here at Jersey road where we do the daily work, everyone around and of course there’s been a lot of staff, a lot of very good experiences going away and playing at home at Griffin Park. There’s been a a lot of ups and a few downs, but that’s football. Mainly I would say I’m enjoying it a lot. We as a football club have a great future to look in to and work towards and that’s what we try to do every single day to make the future as bright as possible.
“Of course we always think about some specific games, when everything is clicking and that top performance. There are some games where everything was fantastic. The best thing is actually this club is so fantastic to part of. The people in the club, the togetherness, the atmosphere. Every single day is remarkable. I think by far, that’s the best thing. Then we all want to see the hard work that we put into this, all of us that’d going to have a top performance and a top win. And there’s been some great results, especially at home. I would say the Hull game, the Stoke game, the Leeds game where we won as well. They were some of the highs, the QPR game winning 3-0 and then I’m pretty satisfied when we try to break that bad away performance spell with the win at Middlesbrough. I think that was a big box to tick.”
Three points on Saturday would be a nice ‘gift’ to mark Frank’s year in charge, but he’ll know that manager-less Millwall will not be obliging visitors.