‘If he brings Messi, I’d be very happy,’ says Thomas Frank on rumoured Beckham investment

Ahead of Brentford’s upcoming Premier League clash that sees them take on Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United, Thomas Frank addressed the media at the club’s Jersey Road training ground on Thursday. The Dane spoke on Bryan Mbuemo’s recent injury, the Brighton defeat and what to expect as the Bees meet the Blades.

‘We will find a way’

With the injury of key star Bryan Mbuemo adding to a lengthy list of players on the sidelines, Thomas Frank spoke on the severity of the forward’s injury and how it will impact the squad as they progress through a congested Christmas period.

‘It is bad, I don’t know how bad, we will scan it later. We don’t have the exact number of weeks he will be out, but he will definitely not play on Saturday and he will be out for weeks so we will know more tomorrow and the next couple of days.’

Frank faced extensive questioning throughout the conference as to just how difficult it would be to replace their talisman, who has himself stepped up to the plate since Ivan Toney’s suspension.

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‘It was also hard to replace Ivan [Toney] but we found a way, this time we will find a way – that’s what we normally do. Of course, if you ask me if I want Ivan and Bryan in my team any day, yes but that’s football. It happens sometimes, we will find a solution, there are players ready to step up.’

He continued to explain exactly why they would miss him, telling reporters that ‘his work rate for the team is incredible, I don’t think you’ll see that many wingers that will work that hard, it means so much for us. He’s growing to be the key man, so who is [going to be] that ‘give me the ball, I’ll take care of it’ [kind of player?] – we will find out the next few weeks’

Wissa ‘needs to find his highest level’

Frank spoke about the return of Neal Maupay to the side, expressing that ‘I think it shows it was very important that we brought him in, we knew that and I think he is in a very good place.’

There was also a mention of Yoane Wissa’s recent struggles, with the manager adding that he ‘has had some good performances but has had a combination of being unlucky and thinking about scoring the next goal. He got on the end of a lot of things and he just he needs to find his highest level, which we know he has and he’s very important for the team. He’s got a good mentality and is very good for the group.’

‘An average performance is not good enough’

‘I think it was an average performance. An average performance is not enough against a good team like Brighton… I think we didn’t give too much away, we didn’t create too much going forward but we [were] in the game.’

He expanded upon his rationale behind playing a 4-4-2 against Brighton, claiming that a hefty injury list forced his hand – but also expressing that occasionally he likes to tweak certain things. He highlighted the fact he doesn’t believe there is a ‘specific benefit of 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, because they can be played in so many different ways.’

‘They can all be played on a position-based style depending on the positions you have sometimes. It can be a very direct style or low block or high pressing. I don’t believe there is a key system that gives extra benefits, not in the modern football.’

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When asked if seeing Jack Hinshelwood score the winner against his team made him reflect on Brentford’s academy prospects that have come through the ranks, he told reporters that he ‘didn’t think about it last night when he scored to be fair, that was not the link I had, it was more irritation.’

Frank went on to mention a handful of youth players that he is proud of, including Michael Olakigbe, Myles Peart-Harris and Yegor Yarmolyuk. The Danish manager told reporters that Peart-Harris has ‘been working hard, he’s been out on loan. Suddenly he gets his well-deserved debut – then suddenly he’s playing the next game, yeah I know! We have injuries but if I didn’t believe in him, he would not even get the minutes. I would not even put him on the bench, that’s an example.’

He then went on to state that his younger players ‘just need to keep working hard, [they] just need to be ready when called upon and that’s the most difficult thing for youngsters to do.’

‘The set-piece battle going into every game is crucial’

The Bees go up against Sheffield United next time out, who will have a point to prove under the returning Chris Wilder. Thomas spoke candidly about how Brentford’s existing knowledge of Wilder could help them to prepare for the match.

‘It helps us a little bit, we thought he was going for 3-5-2 [against Liverpool] but he didn’t, so now we are a little bit [left in the dark]. For Saturday, we are preparing for both scenarios – 3-5-2 and 4-3-3, a tweak. We need to prepare for both scenarios, I expect he might change it but I expect a back four.’

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Following up from this, he was also asked if he saw there was a chance to exploit Sheffield United from corners, with the Blades looking vulnerable against the Reds in their last outing. Frank told reporters that ‘set pieces are big for us. Of course I saw there were some chances yesterday [during their match against Liverpool]. Pretty sure [it’s a] similar thing where Sheffield United will analyse us our weaknesses and will explore that. It is a big thing, the set-piece battle going into every game is crucial. [If we can] keep a clean sheet there and score one, then we are one step closer to win the game. Of course, it is something we look into. Not specifically for Sheffield United but in general.’

‘If he brings Messi as well, I’ll be very happy!’

Following Matthew Benham’s announcement that he would be willing to sell a minority stake in the club, the rumour mill has linked a number of names with a potential investment – but perhaps none more so than David Beckham.

Despite being a Manchester United legend first and foremost, Beckham’s son Romeo plies his trade for Brentford B – the club’s academy system. Thomas Frank was asked for his views on the rumoured investment, and whether he believes it would have any impact on Brentford’s talent acquisition.

Frank responded jokingly, laughing as he said that ‘if he brings Messi as well, I’ll be very happy! Then I’ll say do it, I’ll call Matthew. Get it done. Rumours I don’t know, but yeah Matthew is the owner.’