Frank on 'brutal' Premier League, his key players and Fulham

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has spoken to the media before Saturday's home Premier League game with Fulham.

Here are the main lines from his news conference:

  • He sees increased demand as a positive: "It's fantastic that the expectations are rising - it's always an indicator that you're doing something good. I think we always want more, we want to develop and we want to do better."

  • However, he pointed out the intense difficulty of playing in the Premier League: "This league is brutal. It's the best in the world. Last year we had the lowest budget and finished ninth, which shouldn't be possible. This year it's still quite low and, if you're not top seven, you are trying to fight somewhere between eighth, ninth and 17th. In a not-good season, when you are hit by injuries, you do the minimal, which is to stay in the league."

  • Despite the overall season not being "through the roof", Frank insists he has learned a lot more about his players: "There has still been good performances and it is a good foundation for us going into next season."

  • He highlighted the influence of a select group of Bees: "The key players, when they’ve played, have performed well: Christian [Norgaard], Ethan [Pinnock], Mathi [Jensen] and Vitaly [Janelt], who I think has actually added an extra layer this year. For Nathan Collins’ first season, he has done well while Kristoffer Ajer and Yoane Wissa stepped forward. They are just the players off the top of my head."

  • He gave a positive update on long-term absentee Rico Henry: "He's out for the season but it’s looking good that, when we start pre-season, he should be ready to join in 100 per cent, which is the main bit for me. Hopefully, he can come back fit and firing ready for next season."

  • Finally, Frank praised the job done by Marco Silva and his staff, including coping with the loss of top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic: " He was such an important player for them. He scored so many goals. They started with a lot of different solutions but now it seems to be [Rodrigo] Muniz's position at only 22 years old. For them, it must be fantastic."

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