How Thomas Frank masterminded a sensational season for Brentford

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season for Brentford

With a 3-0 home win over Southampton, season for Brentford could breathe a little easier. It would take something of a miracle for them to be relegated now, and plans can begin to be put in place for next season, after a thoroughly impressive debut campaign in the Premier League.

For head coach Thomas Frank, it will be a point of real pride that he has managed to keep his plucky underdogs in the division, whilst teams considerably more fancied in the football odds have struggled so badly. 

When Brentford’s season began with that memorable 2-0 win over Arsenal at a fervent Brentford Community Stadium, you just knew there was something special about Frank and his team. They were a side with tactical principles, and a belief in what they were doing, and that led to some impressive results in the early stages of the campaign, including wins away at Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United, along with a hard-fought 3-3 home draw with Liverpool.

Of course, for any side freshly promoted from the Championship with little top-flight experience, there will be challenging periods. January and February were bleak months for the Bees, with eight defeats in nine matches, the only let-up a scoreless draw against Crystal Palace. It looked as though the bubble had burst for Frank and co. 

But credit must go to the Dane and his side for turning things round. After losing 2-0 at home to Newcastle United on February 26th, Brentford went on to win five of their next six matches, including a 4-1 demolition of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a match that will rightly be remembered as the highlight of the season. Those victories gave the Bees breathing space, and now they can begin to think about the challenge of establishing themselves as a Premier League side.

The most impressive thing about Brentford’s season is the fact that they stuck with Frank through thick and thin, and the head coach ultimately repaid them. The Dane is clearly someone who believes in his ability, and he didn’t waver tactically as he tried to garner the results needed for survival. Rather, Frank has trusted the systems in place at Brentford, and that has been vindicated.

Brentford’s constancy is in stark contrast to the panic going on at the clubs beneath them. All of Everton, Burnley, Leeds United, Watford and Norwich City have changed managers this season, and yet they are the teams either relegated to the Championship or still battling for survival. Brentford stuck to their guns and trusted the man who had brought them this far.

Frank’s role in bringing Christian Eriksen to the club cannot be underestimated either. Unable to play in Serie A due to the league’s rules regarding defibrillation devices, Eriksen took the plunge and joined Brentford. He has been a revelation in west London, and it’s no coincidence that the Bees’ turnaround in results came when Eriksen became an established member of the team. The question now is can they keep hold of him. 

There’s no doubt that the excitement of their first Premier League season has helped Brentford this campaign, but they’ll want to avoid the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ which affects so many teams that come up from the Championship. Frank has proven his tactical nous so far, and with a few shrewd acquisitions in the summer they’ll be well set to build on this impressive campaign. 

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