Recently, Dean Smith left Brentford to become a new Aston Villa manager. In his past three seasons with Brentford, he always managed to get a top 10 finish. This season, they had a great start. For a long time they were fighting for a first place and they play an amazing football, so why would Dean Smith even consider leaving now that he can finally get a promotion with his team?
If the first reason is the fact that he is an Aston Villa fan and that managing his boyhood club is a dream come true, it’s completely acceptable. However, Brentford is currently in a better position than Aston Villa and leaving the squad that he made over the past three seasons can’t be something you do just because your boyhood club offered you to manage them. For me, there is a more important reason to why Dean Smith left Brentford and it has to do with a lack of ambition within the club.
History of selling their best players?
As a manager, you can’t lead the team to promotion if the club constantly sells their best players. Since Dean Smith has been appointed as Brentford manager, they brought and sold 15 players, making a £50m profit. Some of them are currently playing in Premier League, like Andre Gray and James Tarkowski, and some of them are still doing an excellent job in Championship, like Scott Hogan and Jota. If Brentford kept at least half of these players, they would’ve most likely played in Premier League by now. Although a lot of Championship clubs are selling their best players to Premier League clubs in the summer, the reason why there is maybe a lack of ambition in Brentford is the fact that they tend to sell their best players in January. And it’s quite simple, the team can’t continue an excellent form if their best player leaves in the middle of the season.
Is Thomas Frank the right man for the job?
Once that Dean Smith left the club, his assistant manager, Thomas Frank, was appointed as Brentford new manager. Although this could be also seen as a lack of ambition, the reason why the board let him be the manager is quite justified. Simply, they don’t want to change the style of play, they want to continue the same system and Thomas Frank is certainly someone that knows the players and knows the best tactics for his team. Before taking a role as an assistant manager in Brentford, Thomas Frank used to be a manager of Danish side Brøndby. He had a successful few seasons there, so this wouldn’t be the first time for him to be the team manager. For me, Thomas Frank is just the right man for the job, he is very optimistic about his future with Brentford, and this is how he described his style of play and role in the team to the press:
“I like to dominate on the ball and be very aggressive off it. That’s what we’ve been doing over the last three years. I would like to push even harder if we can. I’m very structured and detailed in the way I see training and then trying to get it out there when we’re playing. I will continue the detail and try to add a little bit more. I will be the same in the way I approach people. That’s who I am. As head coach you take a lot of decisions, that’s one massive difference. You pick the team. The big difference is I will be taking all the decisions.”
Can they keep Neal Maupay?
For me, the biggest thing that Brentford can do to prove that there is no lack of ambition within the club, is to somehow keep Neal Maupay. The young French striker already managed to score 10 goals and provide 3 assists, he is simply carrying the Brentford team and the worst decision they can make is to sell him. Of course, if he continues this form, there will be a lot of offers for him in January, but they have to keep him at least until the end of the season. If they sell him, both the team and Thomas Frank will lose their most important man in their fight for a promotion this season.
What can they achieve this season?
If Brentford manages to keep their best players this season, I can see them in at least in play-offs. What is very important for Thomas Frank is to get as many points as he can in next few fixtures. Their next few matches will be against quite easy opponents, so Brentford will have to go for a win in each of those matches if they are thinking of getting in top 6 again. Currently, they have an excellent squad, they have a good atmosphere within the team and they look confident to continue fighting for a promotion. At least until the January, Brentford fans can stay optimistic as their team has been among the best In Championship so far this season.