If Thomas Frank’s team talks are as stirring as his press conferences, then traumatised Brentford fans have little to fear before the Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Swansea on Wednesday.
In a soliloquy worthy of another more famous Dane, the manager promised his players would leave nothing out on the pitch in their efforts to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the final game to be played at Griffin Park after a 116-year residency.
“We will come out flying,” he said, when asked whether his players who have lost three consecutive matches were primed. “We will do everything we can to make it a last magical moment at Griffin Park that can stay with the fans for ever. I can promise that when we are done tomorrow night, I personally will carry my players off the pitch if they cannot do that themselves.”
Frank also promised to have a pint in each one of the pubs located in the four corners of Griffin Park should his team earn a place in the Premier League and he will have earned them after seeing his team blow the chance to go up automatically. He endured further misery when Rico Henry was controversially sent off last Sunday before André Ayew gave Swansea their narrow lead, a dismissal which has been overturned but could prove costly.
For all Frank’s bullishness he did concede that recent events had convinced his players that fortune did not favour them after the largely excellent campaign that preceded their Devon Loch impression just short of the finish line. Unlike the famous Grand National loser, Brentford have been given a shot at redemption and Frank was only half-joking when he called on “the big football god” to cut them some slack.
“I think the players think the world has turned against them,” he said with a laugh. “We know in the first two games that we could have performed better but we also think we played to a decent level. We produced more chances than the other teams and some vital decisions went the other way. Then of course there was the decision in the last game.”
As well as the gods, history is also conspiring against Brentford as they seek to join the top flight for the first time since 1947, the club having failed to emerge from various play-offs on eight occasions. “I don’t think that will weigh heavily on the players, 100% not,” said Frank.
“It’s part of the motivation that it would be the first time we would be in the Premier League. I think that’s an extra touch, if we can write a new chapter in the book of Brentford.”