Every word Thomas Frank said on Brentford’s trip to Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira and transfers

Could the first week have been any better?

No. That’s very rare that you can nail that combination of performance on and off the pitch with the community. It was remarkable I must say in many ways. It’s a moment to look back on for many years going forward. A top five game to remember for everyone at the club and fans in 20 years time. Everything came perfectly together on Friday night.

Set a really high bar with that start?

I said after the game we need to celebrate every win. We also did that last year in the Championship. I believe massively in that. But Saturday morning we had to go again, be focused and look towards Crystal Palace, put a good performance in. After the game we went around to the fans but we also did that in the Championship. We’ve done that since I’ve taken over at Griffin Park, every game win or lose. We didn’t create too much of a fuss. We’re very pleased, very happy. I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t put in a good performance on Saturday. Will we win? I don’t know but I’m 100% sure we’ll put in a good performance. In terms of effort and focus. We hope to have the quality to get the win.

How close to any more transfers?

We’re always in the market, we’re always looking for a potentially good option. We don’t have anything close, it’s not that we need anything in a specific position. I’m pleased with the transfer market we’ve had so far, I’m pleased with the squad. We’re in a good position.

Is there another position to strengthen?

If we get one more player in it is more important to get a squad player than a specific position.

Thoughts on taking on Palace?

It’s going to be very difficult. We all know that Selhurst Park is one of the most difficult places to go in the Premier League. It’s the first time they’ll have fans in and they’ll be on top of us from the first minute. I need to praise Crystal Palace because they’ve been in the Premier League for the past eight years and done very well. Very consistent in everything they do.

They have between 10th and 15th in those eight years. They are very difficult to break down. It’s a very new and interesting manager in Patrick Vieira. As a player he was unbelievable and when he became a manager he’s been taking a good route, a good pathway. First to New York City for a couple of years, then to Nice and now Crystal Palace. A step every single time. It’ll be a very tough test but we are confident. We believe in ourselves. We’ll go there and do our best to be brave again. It’ll be very, very difficult in spells but we’ll do our best.

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What’s Brentford’s protocol with the vaccine?

We all have a responsibility to do our best to fight this worldwide pandemic. We can do that by taking the vaccine and get double jabbed. That’s my advice to the players. But we live in a world where every individual has their own choice. I’ll never force anyone to get it but I’ll recommend it but if they believe in something else that’s the way it is.

Can the squad get any more confident?

No, I don’t think so. It was a good performance against a top side in Arsenal. That of course gave us a lot of confidence but the Premier League is more than Friday night under the lights in our new stadium with everything buzzing. It’s also away to Crystal Palace, Selhurst Park. We need to perform in different environments and show we can be consistent. Which I believe we can. But I’m very aware it’ll be a difficult game on Saturday. We need to use our confidence going into the game but be very humble. If you can find that balance then I think we’ll be fine on Saturday.

Team news?

No, all players that were available for Arsenal will be available for Palace.

More pressure on you now?

Nooooo, I don’t think so. We need to prove more than in just one game. For me Palace have been in the Premier League for eight years, performed very well and I can’t praise the club enough to do very well in a competitive and difficult league. Crystal Palace must be favourites. They have tried this and done this for many years. The line up they had against Chelsea had a lot of experienced players, nine to 10 of them. It’s going to be a tough test. We’re looking forward to it.

Seventeen months since you last played in a packed stadium away. Can you do anything to prepare for that?

It’s very difficult to replicate the atmosphere we’re going to face on Saturday. The good thing is that a lot of our players have played in big stadiums in the Championship – Elland Road is pretty hostile. There can be spells where we maybe feel that pressure but hopefully it’s only for minutes and then the games will level and we’ll go again.

What have you made of going viral with that picture of Woody?

I’ve seen the pictures because a lot of people have sent it to me. There’s a lot of pluses about not being on social media. I didn’t know how popular it was until my son texted me to say it’s on this and that platform.. I’m pleased for Woody. It’s just me in a moment, not thinking and acting natural. If I should pick a moment being more proud of is when Saka came on the pitch and the way our fans stood up and gave him a fantastic reception. That was a top moment. I was very proud to be part of Brentford when we applauded Saka.

What improvements are you looking to improve from last week?

As a manager you always search for that perfect game. We also need to understand our level.We’re facing a team that had Pepe, who probably cost more than our entire squad. It’s top players we’re facing. I can’t expect to just dominate Arsenal for 90 minutes. I’m pleased we deserved to win but I’d have loved it if we were more brave on the ball in spells, played a bit more and take the pressure out of it. In spells I want us to do that even better. Overall it was a top performance that we’ll do our best to replicate on Saturday.

Happy with midfield options without Jensen and Dasilva?

If everyone was fit, most likely, there’s a big chance both of them would have started. It is fantastic to have Vitaly and Frank doing an unbelievable job. And Christian of course. We need strength in depth and to have different types. It was good to have the types of Frank and Vita as two pressing machines. They are constantly going, they must be a nightmare to play against. They were a big, big part of why we were successful on Friday night.

How do you keep the mindset of confident but humble?

It’s a combination. I definitely constantly try to reinforce this message. We need to keep this confidence because it’s 50% of the performance, if not more, for a footballer or elite athlete so they can do the tricky stuff and take the ball forward. That confidence is so vital but also we need to keep our feet on the ground. We had one game, one good performance. They all know that. We have such a strong culture. It’s not that we’ve not training well enough. If there were spells in Tuesday’s training or didn’t do recovery runs well enough that’s why I am on top of them or the quality is not good enough we need to be on each other. It becomes second nature to do all our principles.

Palace a model club for Brentford to aspire to?

They have a low budget and constantly produce good performances in the last eight years. It’s very impressive what they have achieved. It’s someone we look at and think ‘Hm ,they’ve done something good.’ All the small bits we can steal from everyone and add to our model and way to believe, that’s the way to go forward.

When will Josh Dasilva be fit?

That’s a longer one. I can’t put a specific number of weeks or months on it. It’s just a longer one.

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Tactically more difficult to face Palace under Vieira than Hodgson?

Yes, especially being the second game of the season. We watched all their pre-season games. It’s difficult to know what to expect completely. We also followed a little bit what he did in Nice for an idea of the style of play but we can’t be sure of the approach to the game or the system. That makes it a little bit more tricky to make a clear performance and preparation. But we prepare for different scenarios and systems in the week leading up to the game. We’re prepared for it. In the Championship we’ve experienced it a lot. We prepare for 4-4-2, then face 3-5-2. We know that 75 minutes before the kick off. We need to be adaptable and ready to react from what we see on the team sheet.

Sergi Canos’ hunger a prime example of hunger in your squad?

Bang on. Sergi always plays with a big passion. He can drive the team and the fans love him. He can get the fans on board as well. That’s massively important. He’s a strong example of the culture of the squad, he’s a winger playing wing back. That’s relatively easy going forward but it’s more difficult when you have to defend. The way he defended, the passion with which he defended at the back stick with balls in behind. The focus. Unbelievable, unbelievable. That’s a very good example of the status of the squad at this moment in time.

Good to have more training time this week? Fewer midweek games compared to the Championship?

I love to have a full week. I’m looking forward to one game at a time but also the Carabao Cup game next Tuesday. It’s nice to have more full weeks to train and get what we want into all of the players. We believe massively in training.

Alvaro – will he put immediate pressure on David Raya?

A high priority for us was to sign a good goalkeeper, preferably with big potential and at the same time put pressure on David. That’s fantastic. We want players to make the team and squad stronger and compete but help the team when needed, then within the goalkeeping unit to push the training every day. Alvaro’s a top goalkeeper and top personality and make David better while waiting for his opportunity at one stage.

Jensen any closer to return?

He’s better. He trained partly with the group, which is good, but is out for Saturday’s game.

Wissa likely to feature at Palace?

He’ll definitely be part of the squad and then we’ll see what happens. He’s getting closer after a good week of training and a lot of small talks, meetings and video clips. Hopefully he’s better prepared.

Have you found the plaudits difficult?

It was a crazy and extreme example in many ways on Friday night. It was like a circus. I did media for one hour and 15 minutes. Sky told us that we’ll not experience that amount unless we win the Premier League. So, OK, let’s see if we can win it… It was extreme. A lot of impressions to take in on Saturday and Sunday. Now it’s out of the way. It will always be a fantastic memory on Friday night. But we’re not only professional but so dedicated to perform again on Saturday. We’re only focusing on that.

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Next few games are key to get some points before facing the big clubs?

It won’t change my focus or the players to win the next game. Do everything we can to win against Crystal Palace. We know that’s going to be tough. Hopefully we win and then we look forward to the next game against Forest Green. I know, not to disrespect, Crystal Palace is not as good as Chelsea but we’ll do our very best against each opponent.

Saka applause a credit to supporters?

The whole game was a beautiful example. I’m biased of course but praising our fans in how good they are. They were singing different songs at Arsenal’s players, fans and Arteta. That’s part of the game during the 90 minutes but there’s something bigger than the 90 minutes and I think they showed that in the 30 seconds of applauding Saka. That’s fantastic, how it should be.


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