Thomas Frank relishing face-off with Antonio Conte and names Tottenham manager ‘one of the best in the world'

Thomas Frank relishing face-off with Antonio Conte and names Tottenham manager ‘one of the best in the world’
© PA thomas frank brentford nov 21

Thomas Frank says it is a privilege to be going head-to-head with the likes of Antonio Conte in the Premier League, but remains hopeful that the Italian has not infused Tottenham with his winning mentality just yet, ahead of Thursday’s Premier League clash.

Frank takes his Brentford side to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in good spirits after Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Everton ended a run of five league games without a win.

Spurs, meanwhile, have not played since being humbled by Slovenian minnows MS Mura in the Europe Conference League last week after their Premier League trip to Burnley was called off at the last minute because of snow, meaning they are yet to have a chance to bounce back from the first defeat of Conte’s reign.

“Conte is one of the best managers in the world,” Frank said ahead of the game. “There are two main things I would say [about his teams]. One is they are always very structured, defensively solid. Not that they play defensively, but they know exactly what they’re doing.

“And then they just show a top mentality. I like to see that the team is always reflective of the personality of the manager and he has a very strong mentality. So, that structure on the defensive side of the game plus he will teach them his mentality in terms of getting them to be a winning team. Hopefully, they’re not there yet and we can do something again on Thursday!”

Frank is, like Conte, known to be a passionate, animated figure in the dugout, and when asked whether there were likely to be fireworks between the managers on the touchline, the Bees boss joked: “If he behaves there’ll be no problem!”

“I like the way he is on the touchline,” Frank added. “I’ve only met him once before, when I was assistant at Brentford under Dean Smith and we faced him in the FA Cup [with Chelsea].

“Of course, I didn’t stand up there [in the technical area] and I don’t think anything happened, they were on top in that game, I think they won 4-0. But he was top class after the game and that’s what I’ve always heard about him.”

The timing of Conte’s appointment at Spurs means Frank once again finds himself tested against one of the world’s top coaches only months into his first season as a top-flight manager.

His Brentford side have already drawn with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and were extremely unlucky in losing 1-0 to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, with clashes against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and, now, Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United to come before the calendar year is out.

“That’s a privilege, a fantastic challenge, I look forward to that challenge every single week,” Frank said. “I’m just looking forward to going out there and competing against him but at the end of the day it’s 11 players from Brentford and 11 players from Tottenham.

“Yes, there are two managers on the touchline, but it’s the players who need to do it on the pitch and that’s why I’m privileged to have good players and I trust them.”

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