Thomas Talks… giving credit where it counts – News
Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on a balmy spring evening in west London. Brentford had the upper hand, limited Tottenham to a few attempts on goal and hit the woodwork in the first half and second but couldn’t find a way through. After the game Thomas Frank spoke to the print media, Jim Levack, who covered Brentford for many years for the Press Association and others, reports what he had to say…….. ..
Taming the deadly duo
“We got a result, but we should have gotten an even bigger one. We deserved to win the game. It was fairly even between the boxes, but we kept perhaps the most dangerous duo of Heung-min Son and Harry Kane extremely quiet and created a lot of good chances and chances where we should have scored.
“We had a fairly depleted squad which lacked three centre-backs plus Sergi Canós and Christian Nørgaard, so we had players occupying four positions against a full-strength Tottenham side battling for a Champions League place. It is a huge credit to the players above all, to the staff who have done everything to prepare them and to the structure that we have in the team.
Give credit where it’s due
“Nobody can say that Tottenham were below average. It can only come from us. I know I might be a bit biased, but they had a week between games, came with a full squad and we had five or six injuries and we still deserved to win. I think that’s unbelievable.
“I think it’s hugely unfair (when pundits and the media suggest that the best teams we own or beat have had the day off) because you have to watch the game. How many teams are playing at most top level in every game of a season Not even Man City and Liverpool.
“I’m pretty sure that Klopp and Pep only feel like they’ve reached that higher level four to eight times during the season, then there are games where they’re above average, then there’s there are average performances. Then you have an opponent who hopefully makes it difficult for you like we did, so go ahead and give us some credit.
Spurs Machine Shutdown
“It’s not that easy to do, but we prepared for some patterns we had seen. Going into the last two games, Tottenham were the top scoring team and scoring goals for fun, so we knew if we were a bit too open or maybe they got the first goal that changed the dynamics of the game.
“But knowing those clear patterns also gives our players some structure so they know the situations and of course how to stop them. When it works that’s fantastic, but there will always be crucial moments in a game where we will need a defining block or back sprint like we did.
“Christian Eriksen’s talents and ability are obviously very good. Getting a player who can get straight into the starting XI gives everyone else a boost, which in itself is a help.
“His confident yet humble demeanor fits perfectly with what we are trying to create in our culture. He’s a massive team player, confident in his way of playing, his abilities and what he’s capable of, but he’s also humble, down to earth and his interaction with every player is very good. It helps the team and helped him settle in faster.
The question eight against two
“I would like to say that I am convinced that Christian will stay with us. I’m very positive and I hope he does, but it will be a decision for the end of the season. It’s up to Christian. As with everything you need to decide whether to go to one club or another, buy this house or another house or take this or that job, there have to be pros and cons.
“I always say if you can make an eight-two decision where there are eight good things and two bad things, then you are in a good position. So I hope Christian does what’s right for him in his family and of course I really hope it’s us.”
The woes of injury
“Kristoffer Ajer suffered a concussion in training, Christian was a big shin contact in the Watford game who we thought was ready but he wasn’t and Ethan Pinnock also had an hamstring -leg last week. Then Sergi and Zanka were the week before, so even though there was only one in training, we train very hard… that’s why we are one of the fittest teams in the league.
Nathan’s luck will come
“Nathan Young-Coombes is a very interesting striker. We like his ability to run behind and attack down the back line and his ability to press, so I think he potentially has a bright future ahead of him.
“The next step for him is probably to play men’s football. I think there may be a step before the B team before going directly into the Premier League, but he is a player in whom we believe. and of course, he could have a few minutes before the end of the season.
“He’s a very intelligent and technically very good footballer. When you describe a new role to him and work with him, he picks it up quickly so his ability to learn is very good. And of course his condition of mind to be willing and open-minded to new things is amazing.
“He’s very versatile but I still see his best position as an attacking midfielder so he can sometimes play as a number eight or as a winger, but it depends on the other types in the team.”
Awareness of transitions
“We were good at closing space and being aware of one or two transitions that could have been dangerous, but we sprinted and it’s so important to do that. There were a few combinations around the box where we maybe needed to be a little tighter, but overall it was a very good defensive performance.
Grow in experience
“The experience we’ve gained as a group throughout the season has been invaluable, of course, but the players have also trained, trained and played minutes individually in those positions, which has certainly aid.”
It’s all about the team
“We were really basic for the Man City game when we had six starters, but they can see that it doesn’t matter who we put in. Of course we all need the best players and every manager will want them.
“But that says a lot about the team and the structure, but also about their ability to stay 100 per cent fit and train very hard and their mentality of being ready to step in when needed is great. It sounds easy, but it’s very hard to do it relentlessly, week after week.
Ready for action
“Saman and the two Mads deserve so much praise. It’s easy to play every week, but it’s much harder not to start or to get that many minutes. But Saman is a fantastic example of the culture and friendliness we have. He’s ready when called, playing midfield, striker, winger, full-back and has a fantastic personality and character.
“That’s a big part of why we’re pretty good – we have that culture and that togetherness because you need it if you want to play against the top clubs.”