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First Team News

Sepp Confident To Face League Leaders

25 November 2021

Sepp van den Berg feels PNE step up their game against the sides towards the top end of the division, saying he and his team-mates should go into Saturday’s fixture with Fulham feeling confident.

North End have beaten teams in the top six at the time of facing them so far this season, taking maximum points from AFC Bournemouth, Coventry City and Luton Town.

On Saturday, they face the league leaders who have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, taking 42 points from their 19 games, but the Lilywhites come into it after the midweek victory over Middlesbrough.

“Of course it’s going to be a very tough game on the weekend,” Sepp admitted, speaking to iFollow PNE. “I just think we needed the win [against Middlesbrough]. After the Cardiff game we just needed a win and a boost, to get a bit of a buzz and motivation again.

“It’s going to be a very tough game on the weekend but we know what we are capable of and, in my opinion, the better the teams, the better we play, so hopefully we can make it a good game and get the result.

“Especially playing at home, we’ve only lost to Cardiff and the first game against Hull, so our home form has been very good in my opinion.

“Also looking back to last season against Norwich, we always play better in my opinion against the better teams. Everyone should be confident to play our game and hopefully get a result.”

A source of that confidence could also come from Tuesday night’s win against Boro, with North End coming from a goal down to win 2-1, with goals coming from Ched Evans and Emil Riis.

It was the first time Evans has played since August due to injury, so it was a happy return for the striker.

Sepp said: “It’s been a while, a long while, so everyone’s happy for him to come on and score straight away. It shows everyone what kind of a striker he is so everyone is pleased to have him back.

“Of course to get the three points in the end was very good. I don’t think it was our best game to be honest, but I think the way we fought back in the second half from 1-0 down to make it 2-1 was a very good result and everyone was very happy with it.”

On Saturday, Sepp and his fellow defenders could have a job on their hands keeping one of the world’s most in-form strikers quiet, in Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbian has netted 21 times in his 18 league games so far, but was missing through illness in the Cottagers’ last match against Derby.

Sepp added: “I think I said it before the Liverpool game as well, you just want to play against the best players.

“We know Fulham score quite a few goals so I think for us defenders this game is going to be a tough one, but this is one to show yourself and everyone else what you can do against the best players, so I think everyone should be looking forward to it.”

Away from club football, the 19-year-old has recently been away with Netherlands U21s, playing 90 minutes in a victory over Bulgaria.

“It was good to be there again, being involved,” said Sepp. “Of course I played a game as well so that was really nice.

“It’s always an honour to be there, but it’s always a bit of a change as well because Dutch football [is different] to coming back here.

“But it’s another experience for me playing U21s and playing the full 90 as well so it was a good trip.”

Hear more from Sepp in his full interview at the top of this page.


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