The key quotes from Thomas Frank's post-Chelsea press conference
Photo by Getty Images/Catherine Ivill

Having reached the semi-finals of the competition last season, Brentford bowed out of the EFL Cup at this quarter-final stage this time around following defeat to Chelsea at the Brentford Community Stadium.

The Bees kept the European champions at bay for 80 minutes before shooting themselves in the foot when skipper Pontus Jansson bundled the ball into his own net, and a Jorginho penalty then sealed their exit from the tournament.

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank addressed the media after the match — here are his most noteworthy quotes.

On a tale of two halves

Chelsea came to dominate possession, but it was arguably Brentford who created the better chances throughout the match, particularly in the first-half when Mathias Jensen, Yoane Wissa and Rico Henry all drew fine stops from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Frank was impressed with his side in the opening 45 minutes, particularly in comparison to how they fared when the Blues last visited in October, allowing Ben Chilwell to strike on the cusp of half-time.

"I think we played better first-half this time than we did last time," said Frank. "We gave nothing away and were very good in the low block. We had by far the biggest chances of the game and could definitely have been in front in that first-half."

The second-half was another matter, however. Brentford's counter-attacking threat was nullified somewhat as they began to fatigue, but defensively they remained resilient until Jansson's own-goal gave them a mountain too tall to climb with just 10 minutes to go.

Then Alvaro Fernandez felled Christian Pulisic in the area and Jorginho, ever reliable from the spot, sent Chelsea into the semi-finals with a hop, skip and jump. It was a cruel way to go out, and Frank feels his side could have done better.

"We struggled to create in the second and also on set-pieces where we are usually strong, we didn't nail those. We need to do better on the wings and in the box as well, I think that goal could be avoidable and the penalty too. Two minor mistakes gave their two goals and that was the difference today."

On the calibre of the opposition

These two teams have been affected by Covid-19 outbreaks recently, but Brentford appear to be through the worst of it now, as reflected by a strong team selection from Frank.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, on the other hand, was forced to shuffle his pack considerably, and even handed first-team debuts to teenagers Xavier Simons, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Harvey Vale to protect the fitness of his first-choice starters with a busy schedule on the horizon.

It's testament to the sheer quality in Tuchel's ranks that they were able to see off Brentford despite being forced into so many changes. Frank appreciates Chelsea's quality, but nonetheless feels his side could've done more to take advantage against what was, realistically, a second-string selection from the Blues.

"I went the strongest I possibly could with covid situations, it was a strong team we put out there and the subs as well," he said. "These games against the top teams it's the small bits that decide the game. They are the European champions, they have world-class players, but I think we missed an opportunity against a top side."

On player fitness

Having not played since the dramatic 2-1 victory over Watford on 10 December, Frank's priority on Wednesday — as well as victory — was to give his players minutes in the tank before their return to league action against Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day.

The result disappointed the head coach, but it came with the silver lining that they should now be fit to compete more readily in their festive fixture.

"I wanted to win this game badly, but with everything that happened before the game, the training ground was shut for six days — we are one of the fittest teams in the league but we lacked a little bit that sharpness. I wanted to get players up to speed and now they'll be ready for Brighton."

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