Brentford boss Thomas Frank makes telling point about Newcastle United’s squad ahead of Premier League clash

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Newcastle United visit Brentford on Saturday aiming to extend their winning run in the Premier League to five games

Thomas Frank says it feels like Newcastle United’s squad has “played together forever” as he praised the Magpies’ defensive capabilities before Saturday’s Premier League clash against Brentford.

Newcastle have won their last four games and sit third in the table ahead of the weekend’s action, as they breezed to a 5-1 win at West Ham United on Wednesday, just three days after securing a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

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Eddie Howe’s side boast some impressive attacking options with the likes of Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson to call upon, but their Champions League bid has been built on their defensive nous.

The Magpies have conceded just 20 goals in 28 league games, and despite the likes of Sven Botman and Nick Pope only joining the club last summer, Franks feels it looks as if the defensive unit have played together for much longer.

“They deserve huge praise for the way they defend. They are clear in what they want,” Frank said.

“They have a very well drilled and well picked back five, including Pope. It looks like they have played together forever. They are always in the right positions and they are very good in the duels.

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“We need to match their energy and intensity, win enough second-balls and the set-piece battle. Hopefully we will be good enough in spells on the ball to create enough opportunities.”

On Howe, Frank added: “He did a top job at Bournemouth. They were an example to follow having got promoted and established themselves in the Premier League,” Frank told a press conference.

“He has got an opportunity at a club that wants to be in the top four and they are definitely doing everything that can to maybe even be there this season.

“They have done fantastic, the way (Howe and his coaching staff) came in last year and turned things around relatively quickly.

“Now how they have fine-tuned their style to be energetic, pressing, physical and dynamic is very impressive.”

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