Brentford boss Thomas Frank insists Premier League leaders Chelsea have “no weak spot” prior to the two clubs’ first top-flight derby clash for 74 years.
The west London neighbours are geographically separated by just six miles, but the pair have tended to tread different football paths and Chelsea have not made the short journey for a league game since March 1947.
Brentford have not won this rarely-played fixture since a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge in February 1939, and Frank acknowledges the large gulf in status between the two clubs.
“When we won our promotion in the play-off final they won the Champions League,” said Frank, referring back to that memorable May day for west London football four-and-a-half months ago.
“I think that’s a very good picture of the difference between the two clubs.
“It is a team with world-class players and, with the transfer of Romelu Lukaku, it is more or less complete.
“They have top quality players in every position and one of the best managers in the world in Thomas Tuchel. I don’t think there is a weak spot.
“Every game in the Premier League is a big game, but to face the European champions and the number one in the Premier League is a huge challenge.
“But we love that challenge and we believe in ourselves. We can’t wait for the game.”
Brentford were 15th in the Championship when they last met Chelsea, a 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge in January 2017.
Frank had been appointed Brentford assistant head coach just a month before and the club’s dramatic progress since has been reflected by them winning promotion and taking 12 points from their first seven Premier League games.
That impressive haul has seen them beat Arsenal and draw against Liverpool at home, while winning on the road at Wolves and West Ham.
“I believed we would get something out of those games against Arsenal and Liverpool,” said Frank.
“Of course, the odds are more towards a win for Chelsea than a win for Brentford, but we’re not going out there just to have a nice performance.
“We’re going there to win and I 100 per cent believe we can get something out of the game.”
Brentford would actually cut the gap to themselves and Chelsea to a single point with a victory – and the Dane is confident that he can keep his squad together come the January transfer window.
Addressing the issue of potential transfer speculation surrounding his players, Frank said: “Rumours is a part of the football business.
“If the squad or the team should be influenced every single time there’s a rumour about one player leaving the club, or a rumour about the manager, they can’t get nervous or worried.
“It’s just a natural part of the football world. Right now, as I’ve said the last couple of years, I can’t see any reason why any of our players should want to leave. Or why I should leave.
“We are in a fantastic well-run club with still a lot of things to reach out for. So life is good.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.