Bees closing in on first major cup final - but Frank won't be side-tracked in promotion quest
Thomas Frank insists promotion remains the absolute priority for Brentford – even if they are now tantalisingly close to reaching a major domestic final for the first time.
Tuesday night’s victory over Newcastle United was the fourth against Premier League opposition in this year’s Carabao Cup and puts them one game away from a Wembley final and two games away from a place in Europe.
It is unchartered territory for the club and the excitement levels ought to be through the roof. But the Brentford boss is not about to lose sight of the bigger prize he seeks for his team of promotion to the top flight – which just eluded them at the last in the previous campaign.
“I think if you are in a semi-final, then you will do anything you can to get to the final,” the Bees boss said, “especially now that they’ve moved it to April where we can hope that we have had the worst of this pandemic so that we have our fans with us.
“It would be fantastic to make that result [in the semi-final] to go to the final.
“But if you want an answer, of course the league is more important, no doubt about that.
“Getting over the line and creating a new chapter in Brentford’s history by getting into the semi-final – that's a big step. It shows how far we’ve progressed as a club. I think Matthew Benham, the owner, deserves massive praise for that.
“But we take one game at a time and focus massively on the next one ahead of us and try to win that one.
“I’m 100 per cent pleased the semi-final is one game. It could only be one game this season. I think we have played more games than anyone in Europe – with Man City, Tottenham we are up there.”
Frank added: “I think it was a fully-deserved win and it should have been more. For me it’s all about performance and can we perform better than the opponent – then I’m always more happy. Of course, I always want to win, but football’s a marginal game.
“We played against a Premier League team that played potentially as strong as they could out there on the pitch today and we still beat them with a better performance and have made some changes.
“Some might ask why did you do that, but maybe the only one or two you might discuss was why Bryan [Mbeumo] and Ivan [Toney] didn’t play but we’ve played a lot of games and need to rest Bryan a bit and Ivan as well because we want to win today, but we also want to win on Boxing Day.
“I knew on the day we could put on a good performance out there, though you never know what you are going to get. But I thought it was a strong team that we put out.”