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First Team News

Sepp: "Overall We Can Be Proud"

27 July 2021

Sepp van den Berg felt PNE started well against Manchester City, but tiredness in the second half was a factor as the Premier League side took the game away from the Lilywhites.

The champions of England came out with a strong line-up, featuring many of their experienced professionals, and one of them, Riyad Mahrez, opened the scoring.

At half-time, Pep Guardiola opted to change his whole outfield as some of City’s younger players entered the fray, and they doubled their lead through Sam Edozie, but North End made just one change at the break and Sepp felt fatigue came into play.

Speaking to iFollow PNE, Sepp said: “You know when you come here it’s going to be difficult. Their starting line-up was impressive, some good players in there, so it was hard work.

“First half was tough but I think we did well, we showed some good attacking moments, defensively as well we had to be solid.

“The free-kick was a class goal, but I think the first half was good, and then the second half they came with a fresh team so we got a little bit tired, but overall we can be proud.

“It’s City, it’s one of the best teams in the world, so I think we did well today.”

It was somewhat unexpected for the Sky Blues to have so many of their senior players involved, with the build-up to the friendly suggesting Pep’s side would look young.

As it happened, though, they were able to field the likes of Ruben Dias, Fernandinho and Joao Cancelo, who all played a big part in City’s title win last season.

Sepp added: “We prepared for the game and we were talking about maybe three senior players, maybe six and it became six.

“But in the end I think it’s what you want as a player, just to challenge yourself and I think it was good for them. I think it was good for us too, a good game to play.

“I’ve played against the Academy of City before and they are very, very good footballers.

“Again, they played a very strong team in the first half so we got a little bit tired there, but when you play City they always have good players so it’s always going to be a hard game.”

Having joined PNE on loan in January and then re-joining in June, this is Sepp’s first pre-season with the Lilywhites.

His period with the club has, so far, all been during Covid times and therefore he is yet to see supporters inside Deepdale, but he will get to see just that when fans make their return on Saturday as Manchester United come to Lancashire.

“I really don’t know what to expect,” added Sepp. “I’ve only been in Deepdale with no fans so I’m really excited and looking forward to it.

“Of course I’ve seen a little bit of them at some games this pre-season, but I’m just really looking forward to playing at Deepdale and seeing the fans.”

Watch the full interview on iFollow at the top of the page.

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