Brentford boss Thomas Frank has vowed his team will return even stronger next season, after they fell at the final hurdle in the Championship playoff final.
Fulham won the game 2-1 after extra time, meaning they will be going up to play in the Premier League next season alongside Leeds and West Bromwich Albion.
‘There’s been some good examples in the past with teams coming back even stronger,’ said Frank to Sky Sports after the game. ‘With this club, I’m 100 per cent sure we are coming back even stronger.’
The match was finely poised after 90 minutes, with both teams cancelling each other out.
It took a moment of quick thinking, combined with good scouting, for Fulham’s newest hero Joe Bryan to curl a free-kick in at the near post with goalkeeper David Raya off his line in extra-time.
Bryan revealed that he and boss Scott Parker had been discussing this exact tactic right before the free-kick was taken. But for Frank, it was not a night to point fingers.
‘I will never blame David for anything, he’s been a fantastic keeper for us throughout the season,’ said Frank, despite his goalkeeper’s error.
Fulham full-back Bryan was back in the action for the second goal as well, latching onto a one-two from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic to score his second.
‘A bit of brilliance from Bryan, and that was the difference between two good teams,’ admitted Frank.
Brentford did get one back just before the whistle blew, but there wasn’t enough time to mount a quick comeback.
‘It’s tough to take, we’ve had a top season in many ways,’ Frank added. ‘We managed to score the most goals and concede the second least. But in football it’s fine margins.’
Despite the bitter defeat, Frank is trying to help his players and the Brentford fans see that it was still a very good season for the Bees.
‘We played some of the most attractive football in this division,’ he added. ‘We need to remember what an achievement from Brentford. We all would’ve loved that fairytale, but the fact is we competed with much bigger clubs on a smaller budget.’
The question now will be whether Brentford will be able to hold onto their excellent front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins.
Frank was cagey about the subject, but said that ‘when we start next season we will have a very strong side out there again.’