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1718 burnley turf moor 01 1000x500Burnley’s pre-season came to an end today with a very tame 2-0 defeat against Espanyol that could, in all honesty, have been by an even bigger scoreline.

Not one of the starting eleven from Thursday’s win against Aberdeen although three of the four substitutes used in that game, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick and Dwight McNeil were involved from the start.

Adam Legzdins kept us in it in the first half when we rarely threatened, Kevin Long coming the closest, and the main point of interest during the half was the news that Ben Gibson had signed although, unlike the Robbie Brady signing in January 2017, there was to be no announcement.

The second half at least provided a couple of goals, one early in the half and the other two minutes from the end, but both went the way of the visitors with only a McNeil shot from distance ever really threatening to open our account.

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There was little to enthuse over although McNeil did reasonably well and, overall, Jimmy Dunne had another decent game at the back.

But that’s it, pre-season is over, the strangest of pre-seasons given we’ve also played two competitive games. Now it’s off to Southampton for the Premier League opener in a week’s time, via Istanbul of course as we look to reach the Europa League play-off round.

Sean Dyche said after the game: “It was a good exercise for the younger players in particular. We started with four of them and it’s a big jump playing against such opposition against a good side.

“The challenge we’ve had in pre-season is that these last two have been good games for us, but we‘ve just fallen short of numbers. We want all our competitive first team players out there getting good fitness, but the upside is that these young players have had a chance to find out what it’s like in these type of games.”

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The teams today were;

Burnley: Adam Legzdins, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Aiden O’Neill, Dwight McNeil (Mace Goodridge 89), Jon Walters, Nahki Well, Dan Agyei (Ali Koiki 65). Subs not used: George McMahon, Matt Lowton, James Clarke, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Josh Benson, Tunde Bayode.

Espanyol: Roberto, Borja Iglesias, Sergio Garcia, Sergi Darder, Dídac Vilà, Óscar Melendo, David López, Javi López, Hernán Pérez, Marc Roca, Mario Hermoso. Subs: Diego López, Pipa, Víctor Sánchez, Naldo, Óscar Duarte, Álvaro Vázquez, Léo Baptistão, Ádrian López, Pablo Piatti, Javi Puado.

Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton).

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