'Pepe always stays behind to practise free kicks'


Two shots on goal, two goals for Nicolas Pepe - and they could not have been better timed.

One man who wasn't surprised to see the Ivory Coast international seal the win with his sensational free kicks was Emile Smith Rowe, who sees him do similar every day in training.

This is what the forward told the media after the game:

on how it felt to be back...
It's a great feeling. Obviously I got concussion a couple of weeks ago. I'm just buzzing to be back on the pitch.

on coming back from 2-1 down...
The manager made the subs at the right time and with Pepe coming on, the two free-kicks show exactly what he's capable of doing. We were confident in the second half, started moving the ball a bit quicker and we're pleased to come away with the three points.

on Pepe struggling beforehand...
I think Pepe's improving every day. He's playing well and consistently as well. Obviously the goals hadn't come before but tonight he's scored two unbelievable free-kicks. We're so happy for him tonight.

on whether Pepe does that on the training ground...
Definitely. He practices free-kicks and penalties a lot, and is always putting them away. I'm not surprised he scored both tonight.

on whether this can be a turning point...
Yeah definitely. Monday was a bad result for us, so bouncing back tonight and getting the win was very important. Now we move onto Sunday, a big game for us. For us it's just about each game, taking it game by game. Sunday is important for us, then Liverpool on Wednesday which is huge as well.

on how hard Pepe has been working in training...
Nico works very hard in training. He always stays behind after to practice his set-pieces, I think tonight he's shown what he's capable of doing and I'm sure they won't be the two last goals he scores. His ability is unbelievable.

on what the experience was like for him...
Tonight was a big game for me personally. I just want to keep training every day and trying to prove myself when I get given the opportunity.

on whether it's frustrating we couldn't get it right straight away...
Definitely, but this is football and it happens. You can't always win in the first half. You've got to come up against good opponents but in the second half I thought we made good substitutions and then got the win.

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