Thomas Frank relishes the chance to pit himself against “the greatest manager of the modern era” when Brentford takes on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Wednesday.
Reigning champions City will head south in the standings after the 6-3 Boxing Day thriller against Leicester scored nine straight league wins, but Frank warned his injured side were not intimidated by the challenge.
The Dane has never faced Guardiola, a coach he said he spent a lot of time studying, but has no illusions about the difficulty.
âWe play against the team in the potentially biggest budget division, definitely one of them, and I think the greatest manager of the modern age,â he said.
âReally amazing players and a very good specific style of play that makes it pretty hard for a team like ours to try to get something out of it because they’re so good at holding the ball.
âThey hardly ever take any chances – of course you can do a little cons – so it’s going to be very difficult.
â(From Guardiola) a very innovative trainer, always refining positions. The way they build from behind and the way they keep the ball and the breakthroughs is something I’ve been studying for years.
“It’s hard to copy, you need decent players, but it’s good to be inspired by it.”
Brentford took a point from Liverpool in a 3-3 draw in September and put Chelsea to work in a 1-0 league loss in October, also losing 2-0 to the Blues in the Cup Carabao earlier this month.
“The good news is that we played pretty well against Liverpool and Chelsea, the other two best teams in the division,” added Frank.
“The only thing was I wanted to play (City) with a full team and unfortunately we are affected by injuries.”
Vitaly Janelt dated Covid-19, while Bryan Mbeumo joined an injured list that already includes Rico Henry, Mathias Jorgensen, Kristoffer Ajer, David Raya and Josh Dasilva.
To make matters worse, Janelt’s defensive midfielder Christian Norgaard is suspended after securing his fifth booking in the 2-0 Boxing Day loss to Brighton.
âYou’re playing against potentially the best offensive team in the world, without a few defensive players, so maybe it’s a bit of a lag, but we’ll find a way, we’ll find a plan,â Frank said.
“We have other players to come in who have to perform so we’ll find a way.”