The visitors at the Brentford Community Stadium took a surprise two-goal lead inside half an hour thanks to a superb individual effort from Mathias Normann and Teemu Pukki’s penalty. The hosts huffed and puffed in the second-half and clawed a goal back through Rico Henry, but the damage was already done as Norwich sealed their first victory of the Premier League season.
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank addressed the media after the match — here are his most noteworthy quotes, as per the official Brentford website.
On the overall performance
Frank was adamant that the result reflected in injustice to the performance of his team on the day and, on the face of it, he may have a point.
The Bees enjoyed 64% of the possession and mustered 19 shots to their opponents’ nine, though Norwich’s higher shot accuracy (56% to Brentford’s 37%) does indicate their efforts at goal represented goalscoring opportunities of a higher quality.
Nonetheless, Frank saw enough from his side to believe they were deserving of at least some reward.
“Throughout the 90 minutes we put a performance in that was more than enough to win this game,” Frank asserted. “We created an xG of almost 3, 19 shots, totally dominant in the second half. First half we could have been better but it wasn’t a bad one.”
On Norwich’s goals
On the back foot for much of the game, the Canaries were clinical when chances did come their way and capitalised on lapses of concentration in the Brentford defence.
Normann’s goal was a moment of individual brilliance, though in some respects it was made too easy for the Norwegian owing to a lack of pressure from Brentford’s midfield, while the ease with which Normann was able to thread Pukki through on goal to win the penalty was also concerning.
But the Danish head coach showed no signs of worry in his post-match interview, putting Norwich’s goals and the result down to fine margins.
“We started on the front foot, the first five, six minutes, then they scored when Normann suddenly turned into Lionel Messi, going through and putting it in with his weak foot. We got back in the game, got on top, and then there was the penalty that didn’t go our way. Margins — that’s the way it is, no complaints, it’s just the way it is.”
On first-half struggles
In the two first halves against Burnley and Norwich, Brentford have conceded five goals with no reply. It’s developing into a worrying trend, particularly seeing as it’s happening against teams the Bees would’ve hoped to do better against — both the Clarets and the Canaries have now claimed their first victory of the season respectively against them.
But Frank, while admitting the first half against Burnley was poor, believes no such comparisons can be made with the opening period against Norwich, again asserting that Daniel Farke’s (former) side had the rub of the green and his didn’t.
“There’s a big difference between this first half and the Burnley first half,” said the Dane. “The Burnley first half was really bad, this was not really bad. Yes we conceded two goals but this is football, it’s margins, it can happen.
“Besides [their goals] they had no other chances first half, and we created opportunities and were on top. It’s the most difficult thing to cope with a loss, and especially on top of another, I would say, in general good performance.”
On bouncing back
Four consecutive losses in a row spells out a worrying run of form from Brentford, and they’ll be hoping to turn the tide sooner rather than later.
To do so, according to Frank, they need to simply analyse their performances, work harder, and above all retain faith in the process.
“Of course we are irritated, frustrated that we’ve lost four in a row, that’s nothing to run away from. But I think it’s so important that we look at the performances. Sometimes you have those margins going your way and they’re not going our way at this moment in time.
“If we continue [playing] like this, [there will be] no problem. But of course at this moment in time we just need to work a bit harder to get the margins on our side.”
All eyes on the visit to Newcastle United after the international break; defeat there would perhaps see even bigger questions asked of Frank and his Brentford team.