Thomas Frank said Brentford’s fairytale promotion to the Premier League should encourage clubs across the world to dare to dream, after they returned to the top flight for the first time in 74 years. Brentford’s victory over Swansea City in the Championship play‑off final is worth £178m but Frank said they will not stray from their shrewd data-led philosophy.
“The journey the club has been on is absolutely unbelievable,” the manager said of a club who were in the third tier in 2014 and the fourth tier in 2009. “A lot of credit should go to [the owner] Matthew Benham.
“There should be a lot of clubs out there dreaming. Everything is possible if you work hard, have a clear strategy, togetherness, and then everything is achievable in the world.
“Last year there was no real expectation but this year there was so we had to handle that on top of everything. There was pressure on us to do well.”
Last summer Brentford sold Ollie Watkins and Saïd Benrahma in deals worth a combined £60m and signed Ivan Toney, who opened the scoring at Wembley on Saturday from the penalty spot, for a club-record £6m. Player trading is central to Brentford’s model.
“It’s going to be extremely important that we stick to that and I’m not in doubt that we will,” Frank said. “We will be calm with a clear strategy. Going into the Premier League we will see what happens. We will be calm.”
Frank is the first Danish manager to win promotion to the Premier League. “It is an unbelievable feeling to be part of something this special, I’m really humbled about it because I know I played a part,” he said.
“To be able to be a part of this and play my role, I’m very proud of that. Because I really, really walked the hard way, coaching from when I was 20 from under-eights to Premier League.
“I hope that can inspire other coaches out there who have that dream to inspire people to be better people and players.”
Early goals from Toney and Emiliano Marcondes propelled Brentford to victory in the most valuable game in English football before the Swansea midfielder Jay Fulton was shown a red card for a foul on Mathias Jensen.
The defeat casts doubt over the future of their manager, Steve Cooper, who is among the contenders to succeed Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after guiding Swansea to successive play-off campaigns.
“I’ve always worked on the basis that although setbacks are the hardest thing, they are the most important thing that defines you,” he said. “They have to be the thing that makes you stronger. You either sulk or come back fighting even stronger. That will be this group of players’ mentality.”