How helpful are Thomas Frank’s outbursts in the quest to keep Brentford up?

Brentford boss Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is a combative manager and always has been. At times, it can be a useful trait that inspires the players around him to commit themselves to the cause with unwavering loyalty, but there are also other occasions when it undermines the message he tries to convey. At least, Brentford pride themselves on a statistical approach to footballing life and turn to the numbers every time they need an answer to a lingering query. Adopting this strategy should, in reality, mean that there is no need to become emotional when results go against you. In essence, if the numbers point to a change in fortunes around the corner then you should, in theory, believe in what you’re doing and stay composed.

But there are growing signs that the pressure of trying to keep Brentford in the Premier League is beginning to get to Frank which has the potential to undermine the formula that the club relies on. Indeed, there is little doubt that Frank’s outbursts have had a ripple effect on the squad in terms of being unable to avoid the drop, and you only need to look at the latest English Premier League betting odds as far as relegation goes to understand that the Bees are in real danger of going down having been priced at just 13/5. 

It has obviously been a disastrous run of results that has led Brentford into this situation with the Bees losing as many as seven times in their last eight matches going into the start of March. What started as a gradual slide in form now looks to be turning into a catastrophic plunge into the Championship and if the Bees do go down, there will undoubtedly be questions asked about Frank’s conduct during the run-in. 

If you cast your mind back to the 3-1 home loss against Manchester United in January then you will be able to pinpoint the exact moment when Frank began to let his emotions get the better of him. Following that loss, an incredulous Frank told reporters that his side had ‘destroyed’ Manchester United and that the Red Devils were ‘unbelievably lucky’ during the fixture at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Perhaps realizing that he had overstepped the mark, a week later the Dane then spoke earnestly about the need to keep his emotions in check for the benefit of his squad so that they could better control their own feelings when the heat was turned up. Frank’s message came just before kick-off against Wolves but the sincerity of his words would have been lost on the players after the 48-year-old was sent off after the final whistle in the game after a disagreement with his opposite number Joao Moutinho. In addition to that, Frank also exhibited unacceptable aggression towards referee Peter Bankes which ultimately prompted the official to show the Dane a red after the initial yellow for the spat with Moutinho, adding insult to injury following the defeat to Wolves.

There is an unmistakable trend developing here and you can understand why Frank’s players may well be starting to panic given that their manager is inadvertently sending them a message that they may well be relegated. Far from projecting a calm persona, the Dane is very publicly pushing the panic button every week.