Thomas Frank’s mission ‘impossible’ as Brentford must cope without Christian Eriksen

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In charge: Thomas Frank  (Getty Images)
In charge: Thomas Frank (Getty Images)

On the morning of March 5, Brentford were in real strife. Their bright start to life in the Premier League had fizzled out, they were winless in eight — losing seven of those — and had picked up just four points from a possible 33 since Boxing Day.

Then along came Christian Eriksen. The Dane made his first Bees start that day at Norwich, who were fast becoming relegation rivals at that point, and inspired the first of seven victories in his 10 starts to drag the west Londoners well clear of the drop.

It is little wonder Thomas Frank has admitted replacing perhaps the most talented player ever to represent the club will be “impossible” but Brentford will have to try.

It will take a collective effort and a tactical shift appears likely to be part of the plan, with Frank more regularly employing a front-three in pre-season, having relied on a sometimes isolated pairing of Bryan Mbuemo and top-scorer Ivan Toney last term.

Mbuemo had a stronger first Premier League season than his four goals and seven assists would suggest (he also hit the woodwork seven times, the joint-most in the division) but Frank will need more consistent output from him.

On the opposite flank, Keane Lewis-Potter is now the most expensive signing in the club’s history following his £20million move from Hull but may be eased in, with Yoane Wissa finishing last year in fine form and carrying that into pre-season.

Back in midfield, Frank believes Mathias Jensen “needs to step up a bit more”. The 26-year-old, inextricably tied to Eriksen having replaced him as a substitute following his collapse at Euro 2020, has proved a frustrating talent but should be entering the prime years of his career and earlier this week

captain Pontus Jansson told Standard Sport that Jensen had been one of the players to benefit most from the now Manchester United playmaker’s training ground influence.

If the onus is on Jensen to pull the strings, however, it could be that Josh Dasilva, something of a forgotten man having starred in the Championship before a hip injury almost derailed his career, is more likely to replace Eriksen’s goal threat from midfield.

The former Arsenal academy man scored 17 goals across a season-and-a-half before that injury struck and is hoping to recapture his best form.

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