By Rachel Steinberg, PA
Thomas Frank admitted Brentford face their toughest test yet when they travel to Manchester City for their final match before the World Cup.
The 11th-placed Bees have won just one of their last five top-flight games, while City are looking to extend their winning streak to four and boost their chances of topping the table at the break.
It is now Brentford’s turn to attempt what many other clubs have failed to accomplish so far this season: stop prolific City striker Erling Haaland.
“Is it going to be difficult? It’ll be unbelievably difficult,” Frank told a press conference.
“They have an almost complete squad and added Haaland who will be destroying goal records in the coming years. A lot has been said about him – he is a machine. They are an unbelievably difficult side to close down, but I back us to do something.
“We have never, ever gone into a game believing that we’re not capable of winning. It’s most likely the biggest challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
Pep Guardiola’s second-placed side are two points behind league leaders Arsenal, so they will need help from the Gunners’ Saturday opponents Wolves to move into the top spot.
Norway international Haaland is the Premier League’s top goal-scorer, his 18 in 12 outings good enough for a seven-goal advantage over Spurs’ Harry Kane in second. City also lead the top-flight with 39 goals so far this season, nine more than the Arsenal.
While Haaland has stolen the spotlight, that could not have been accomplished without the success of team-mate Kevin De Bruyne, who boasts a league-leading nine assists and three goals of his own.
Frank is paying close attention to those numbers.
He said: “(Haaland) is playing for a team that is giving him probably the best possibilities to score goals; they will provide him with good opportunities from crosses or slide passes.
“It’s about trying to stop the source; the more we can stop the source, the better.
“It will not be the first time that people have tried to keep De Bruyne quiet. He always seems to find a way.”