Brentford boss Thomas Frank believes Chelsea are the “clear favourites” for Wednesday’s Premier League clash on Wednesday evening.
The mid-table clash at Stamford Bridge will see the 10th-placed Bees go in search of their first win in seven attempts while Frank Lampard’s side, one place and five points below their west London rivals, are five Premier League matches without a victory.
While the Blues have far from lived up to expectations since their January transfer window splurge, Frank feels like a reversal of fortune under latest man-in-charge Lampard is looming.
“I think we all know that Chelsea have been struggling a little bit this season,” said Frank.
“Very good players. I know they haven’t won, but I think clearly in the four games (Lampard) has been in charge they are playing with bigger energy, more intensity on the eye and also on the numbers.
“It’s top players, and at the end of the day they bought players for £600million in the past two transfer windows and they haven’t forgotten how to play football.
“Sometimes it takes one moment. Now they had a good week to work with them at Stamford Bridge. They are clear favourites of course. They should be. But we hope and believe that we can do something.”
Frank will once again be without the services of defensive midfielder Christian Norgaard, who remains sidelined with an Achilles injury with no clear timeline for a return.
The Bees boss also confirmed defender Kristoffer Ajer was back in full training with the team but added he will not be fit in time for Wednesday’s meeting, though there was better news about winger Kevin Schade, who suffered fatigue and cramp in Brentford’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa last time out but will be available on Wednesday.
Frank’s side will hope to recreate some of the magic that saw them cruise to a 4-1 victory at Stamford Bridge last year, though the boss was less fussed when asked if he would be particularly satisfied to finish ahead of local rivals Chelsea and Fulham at the end of the campaign.
He added: “Of course last year was a special night in Brentford history. Fantastic. It’s a game I will always remember. We hope that we can go and perform again tomorrow and we hope that we can win.
“I know there’s this local rivalry against the two clubs so with that in mind of course it would be nice, but I don’t have any specific clubs I want to end above. I just want to end as high as possible, and if you end as high as possible there will be a few below you.
“Do we want to end higher than both clubs? Yes. But also we want to end higher than Villa, Brighton, as high as possible.”