Proud Thomas Frank hailed his ‘Brentford Babes’ as his young side dumped an experienced Stoke outfit out of the FA Cup.
The Bees named just one regular first-team player in their team, which included seven youth products, and came out 1-0 winners courtesy of Emiliano Marcondes’ first-half set-piece.
Frank said: “That was absolutely fantastic.
“My wish for this game was totally completed because I wanted a win, important minutes for a lot of players and to show that we have a clear identity in the club so we could rest 10 players.
“The first 30 minutes we needed to work hard and get in the game but they didn’t create anything. After half-time we had opportunities to kill the game but when they didn’t happen we showed our identity and culture.”
The Dane pointed to statistics to show the magnitude of the win.
He said: “I’ve done my research and we had an average age of 20.1 years and theirs was 24.5. They had a total of 9,000 Championship minutes – we had 2,000, so it’s a great achievement.”
Frank also lauded his side’s defending, adding: “That desire to defend is ingrained in the club now and it’s a big part of our culture.
“The young players were led brilliantly by the older heads, especially when they made mistakes and I was delighted by their composure right at the end of the game when they looked so calm and assured.”
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill bemoaned his side’s luck.
He said: “In the end it was settled by a set-piece and a goal that was preventable.
“I was disappointed to lose but in the second half we got balls into the box and we didn’t seem to get on the end of them, the little things didn’t fall for us.
“But we played well and there were a lot of positives. It was a good performance and we had a lot of control in the game.
“In the first half our final ball could have been better and I was disappointed by the nature and timing of the goal.
“But in the second half we created opportunities to get something, but overall we couldn’t find that something we needed on the day.”
O’Neill hailed the performance of former Brentford midfielder Ryan Woods and admitted there would be more opportunities for players to shine.
“A lot of players did extremely well and I was delighted with Ryan who showed what he’s about today,” he said.
“Since we’ve been here we have players who have not had a lot of opportunity and they will get their chance before the end of the season.
“We’ve had a game every three days since we’ve come in so it’s been difficult to assess players and our numbers are high.
“But we are getting to the point where we know which players in the club have the right attitude and application to take us forward.”
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