Thomas Frank: Pep Guardiola is greatest manager of modern era

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  • Manchester City
    Manchester City
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Thomas Frank
    Danish association football manager
  • Pep Guardiola
    Pep Guardiola
    Former Spanish soccer coach and player

Thomas Frank is relishing the chance to pit his wits against “the greatest manager of the modern era” when Brentford take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Wednesday.

Defending champions City will head south top of the table after the 6-3 Boxing Day thriller against Leicester made it nine league wins in a row but Frank warned his injury-hit side are not daunted by the challenge.

The Dane has never previously come up against Guardiola, a coach he said he had spent considerable time studying, but is under no illusions about how difficult it will be.

“We’re playing against the team in the division with potentially the biggest budget, definitely one of them, and I think the greatest manager of the modern era,” he said.

“Definitely unbelievable players and a very good, specific style of play that makes it quite difficult for a team like us to try to get something out of it because they are so good at keeping the ball.

“They almost never risk it – of course you can do a little bit of a counter – so it’s going to be very difficult.

“(Guardiola’s) a very innovative coach, always tweaking the positions. The way they build up from behind and the way they keep the ball and the breakthroughs, it’s something I’ve been studying for years.

“It’s difficult to copy, you need decent players, but it’s nice to get inspiration from that.”

Brentford took a point off Liverpool in a 3-3 draw in September and made Chelsea work in a 1-0 league defeat in October, also losing 2-0 to the Blues in the Carabao Cup earlier this month.

“The good news is that we have done quite well against Liverpool and Chelsea, the two other top teams in the division,” Frank added.

“The only thing is I wanted to play (City) with a full strength side and unfortunately we are hit by injuries.”

Vitaly Janelt is out with Covid-19, while Bryan Mbeumo has joined an injury list which already includes Rico Henry, Mathias Jorgensen, Kristoffer Ajer, David Raya and Josh Dasilva.

To make matters worse, Janelt’s fellow defensive midfielder Christian Norgaard is suspended after collecting his fifth booking in the 2-0 Boxing Day defeat at Brighton.

“You are playing against potentially the best offensive team in the world lacking a few defensive players so that’s maybe a bit of a mismatch, but we’ll find a way, we’ll find a plan,” Frank said.

“We have other players to step in who have to perform so we’ll find a way.”

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