What Next For Brentford?

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Brentford Analysis Opinion News

Brentford Football Club have announced that former boss, Dean Smith’s assistant manager, Thomas Frank has been appointed the new manager of the club.

In this piece, we will look at a profile surrounding the rather unknown Dane, who has taken over the challenge of achieving promotion to the Premier League.

Who Is Thomas Frank?

Thomas Frank is a rather unknown in English Football, with just an assistant managers role at Brentford and a managerial job at Brondby FC as his known roles to the English media.

The 45-year-old Dane was born on October 9th 1973 in the small town of Frederiksværk, Denmark. He also turned out for his hometown club, Frederiksværk BK, however, the number of appearances and goals he scored are an unknown

Managerial Jobs

Before joining Brondby in 2013, Frank had various coaching jobs of many youth teams in his native Denmark. The clubs included Frederiksværk BK, Hvidovre IF, B93, Lyngby and varying levels of the Denmark youth teams.

As mentioned above, Frank is most well-known for being the manager of Brondby IF of the Alka Superliga, the highest level of professional football in Denmark.  Frank led Brondby through a relatively successful spell whilst in charge of the club, twice finishing third and fourth place in the 2013-2014 and 2014 -2015 seasons respectively. This meant the club finished in the Europa League positions, however, Frank never took the club past the qualifying stages into the competition proper.

Frank maintained a respectable win percentage as manager of Brondby winning 46 out of his 103 games in charge of the club, which gave him a win percentage of over 44%.

Brondby IF 

Despite some very good results throughout his three seasons as the Brondby manager against the fellow titles rivals of Danish football, Brondby suffered from a lack of a threat in attack. Goals proved to be a consistent problem for Frank during his spell as Brondby manager with the club never scoring more than 50 goals during an Alka Superliga season.

Thomas Frank Brentford United Championship Tactical Analysis Profile
Moments like these were all too often during Frank’s reign at Brondby, where the ball was used wastefully in attack.

The annotated image above shows a perfect example of Frank’s reign at Brondby. The pass is on the outside for the man on the ball, however, he makes the wrong choice in attempting to cross. Such attacking play was a common sight for Brondby fans.

Frank played a progressive style of football, with his teams attempting to pass the ball around, with the occasional passing out of the back. The Centre-Backs would split from back passes to the goalkeeper with two midfielders coming back into the big gap to make themselves available to take ball.

However, it was a different story for Brondby’s defence, which always remained solid enough to compete with their fellow titles rivals, being among the top three defences in all three of his seasons as Brondby manager. Frank’s Brondby defence finished joint first in his first season as manager in goals conceded, whilst finishing third in both his second and final seasons.

Thomas Frank Brentford United Championship Tactical Analysis Profile
The shape of Brondby’s defence as shown in a game during Copenhagen in late 2015.

The above annotation is just one of the many examples of Brondby’s solid defence during Frank’s reign in charge. With all 11 men behind the ball, Brondby make sure that the Copenhagen centre-half has to resort to kicking the ball long.

How Will Brentford Adapt?

Brentford’s performance away to Leeds United was a perfect example of their style of play under former manager Dean Smith, quick incisive attacks whilst also maintaining a good shape at the back. However, despite the good incisive attacks, Brentford’s poor finishing meant that they were the victims of leaving Elland Road with only one point, despite dominating the game. This is something that Thomas Frank will have to look to fix if Brentford are to become serious contenders for one of the three Premier League places up for grabs.

Brentford’s poor finishing has been costly in recent games with the club drawing four of their last five Championship games. This statistic is all the more staggering when you factor in the fact that Brentford have led in three of those four games they have drawn. This shows a clear lack of cutting edge and ruthlessness to put their opponents away.

The game versus Leeds was a perfect example with the below image showing just one of a number of counter-attacks that did not lead to a goal.

Leeds United Brentford FC Match Analysis Tactical Analysis
One of the many counter attacks Brentford managed to conjure after nullifying Leeds.

Final Thoughts

If Thomas Frank is to be a success at Brentford then he has to maintain that defensive discipline which saw his Brondby team finish third and fourth in his first two seasons as manager of the club.

However, the Dane will also need to make sure his Brentford team can develop a cutting edge up front, and score more goals. With this Brentford team that should not be a problem if we examine the club so far this season, with the club currently the fourth highest scorers in the ChampionshipHowever, the last five games will make Frank cautious that despite the club being the fourth highest scorers, more work needs to be done to make them even more ruthless.