Brentford

Thomas Frank discusses challenges of being a leader in the pandemic

By Sean Walsh
Thomas Frank was vocal about the need for a circuit break shutdown
Thomas Frank was vocal about the need for a circuit break shutdown / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages
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Brentford head coach Thomas Frank has discussed the challenges he's faced trying to lead the club in the pandemic and opened up on their recent Covid-19 outbreak.

The Dane called for a circuit-break shutdown of the Premier League ahead of last weekend's fixtures due to a number of clubs suffering from coronavirus outbreaks, and Brentford's trip to Southampton ended up being one of six top flight games cancelled.

Frank has also been vocal about vaccine uptake and leading Brentford through the pandemic, and was asked how he as a leader has had to prepare for and adapt himself to the new challenges that coronavirus has brought.

"It's definitely more challenging!" Frank said. "You just nailed it there, you can't prepare for that situation, so you hope that all of your experience that you've gained through the years standing in different difficult situations helps you to take sensible decisions, and try to take the best possible decisions.

"I think there's also a little bit of going with your gut feeling - the way I do it, I gather information from a lot of people and then put everything together, add in my gut feeling and then I try to take the best decision."

Frank revealed that while he has had no direct concerns from his players about Covid-19, members of his staff were worried about the recent outbreak and catching the virus. The Brentford boss was empathetic of their concerns and admitted there was a balance to coaching the team and caring for personal matters.

"I think from the players' perspective - I haven't spoken to every single one of them about this in depth so it's difficult from me to nail it in terms of their mental health - but not one has come to me and said 'Thomas, I'm a little insecure about this, it'd be nice not to play and train'," Frank added.

"I think it's actually more about the staff because the staff members are more from 30 to 60 or 70 [years of age]. There's bigger issues there with a lot of them having families and small children. I know the players are the high profile ones who get paid the most money but no team is without a fantastic staff and I think we need to think about the staff members more than the players sometimes. I care about both players and staff but I think sometimes we tend to focus on the players.

"I think every manager or head coach wants to play their best team. You always get annoyed if there's an injury and I compare this - I know it's different - but I compare the virus a little bit to a minor injury.

"I know it's a virus where if you're unlucky you can get incredibly ill and some people can die from it. But most cases aren't as harmful, it doesn't hurt people that much.

"In that case, I'm not worried about getting it myself - I've already had it once, I'm double jabbed, I got my booster on Saturday. Can I get it again? Yes, because a lot of people get it again. It's more that you want to play your best team, you want to compete. And of course caring for the staff and players if they're ok."


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