Thomas Frank’s new deal should help reset Brentford’s focus during the Premier League winter break

4 min

Five games played, one win and four losses – the start of 2022 has been frenetic with the Premier League’s winter break not coming soon enough for Brentford.

And neither could the announcement of Thomas Frank’s new deal just two days after the Wolves defeat, the 48-year-old committing himself to the club until the summer of 2025.

Because, despite recent results, the Danish boss fully deserves the contract extension having guided Brentford out of the Championship and to their first top-flight campaign since 1947 where they currently sit eight points clear of the drop zone.

This news, coupled with the break, gives everyone time to reflect on the massive strides the club has made and importantly to regroup because to some degree Brentford have lost their way over the last month.

The defensive solidarity that underpinned their promotion campaign has disappeared, shipping 13 goals in the last five games and, albeit against more illustrious opposition such as Manchester United and Liverpool, have mostly been from avoidable scenarios. 

Brentford have stopped closing their opposition down with the same intensity they are renowned for, leading to goals such as Southampton’s Ibrahima Diallo’s (via a deflection from goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez) and Ruben Neves’ winner for Wolves.

Indeed, Neves and Portuguese compatriot Joao Moutinho were all too easily able to dictate the midfield last weekend due to Brentford’s reluctance to press while the Bees were also incredibly lacklustre in their efforts going forward. 

It is little wonder that the usually calm and collected Frank lost his cool on the touchline, an action that saw the Dane sent-off and charged with improper conduct just days after a similar outburst following the defeat to Manchester United.

Frank’s frustrations are understandable as currently Brentford are not being beaten by the opposition but themselves – too often switching off or not taking their chances.

READ MORE: Brentford’s January transfer window – Thomas Frank’s covid-stricken Bees may be in need of a boost

It is important these bad habits don’t turn into the worst habit of them all – losing and in this respect after the trip to Manchester City there are winnable games in the next set of fixtures.

Should Brentford get back to their best in terms of pressing, decision-making, passing and taking their chances there is little doubt they will get out of their current rut and move even closer to safety.

And if the Bees do successfully navigate the next month they should hopefully be bolstered by the return of long-term absentees David Raya and Josh Dasilva.

Goalkeeper Raya is back in light training after being out with a knee injury sustained during the loss to Leicester in October while Dasilva stepped up his recovery from a hip injury this week with 45 minutes for Brentford B against Harrow Borough.

Both have been sorely missed, particularly Raya’s excellent distribution from the back with replacements Fernandez and Jonas Lossl, albeit good shot-stoppers, not having the same ball playing prowess that Brentford and Frank crave.

One positive to come out of the last month though is the return to form of Ivan Toney – the 25-year old scoring in back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Wolves for the first time since November. 

The forward has struggled since suffering from Covid at the start of December and appeared to be trying to overcompensate by doing too much in the build-up, dropping deep to try to create instead of being the target man he is.

While the deep-lying forward position is something Toney can definitely do, his best attributes come from scoring goals in the six yard box so it’s refreshing to see him returning to what he does best.

The winter break will give him, Thomas Frank and the rest of the Brentford set-up a chance to recharge and get back to what has made them so successful over the past few years before the gruelling work begins all over again.

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