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Ken McKenna
PROUD TNS boss Ken McKenna hailed his players after their spirited Uefa Cup display against Premiership giants Manchester City in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Despite the emphatic margin, McKenna felt the Saints could take plenty of credit, particularly from their display at the principality's showpiece venue.
"Although we were well beaten overall, especially in the first leg in Manchester,I am very proud of the players for the way they have performed," he said.
"A couple of defensive mistakes cost us in the first leg two weeks ago but over the 90 minutes in Cardiff I felt we deserved a draw. I couldn't have asked for any more from the players."
TNS certainly revelled in the occasion, being the first club to be involved in a European tie at the Millennium Stadium.
At the final whistle, they swapped shirts with their Manchester counterparts before walking around the pitch to applaud the 10,000 crowd.
Many eyebrows were raised at TNS's move to play the "home" tie in Cardiff, but McKenna believed it was the right decision as his men emerged from their European adventure with heads held high.
"I think our performance justified playing the game there. The lads really enjoyed it and its something they're going to remember for a long, long time."
The Saints certainly rose to the challenge as they gave the City side, resting several of their big names, plenty to ponder throughout the night.
"It would have been nice if we had scored, our performance definitely deserved a goal but it was not to be," said McKenna.
While the players could take plenty of heart from their display, the Saints' chief is eager his men quickly turn their thoughts to crucial league action on Sunday.
On the same day that City take on Arsenal in the Premiership, TNS also have a vital encounter in the Mitsubishi Welsh Premier when they entertain one of their main rivals for the title, Bangor City.
"While everyone's really enjoyed the European experience, we can't afford to dwell on it too much as Sunday's another big game for us.
"It's important we make sure we approach it in the right manner."
Defender Chris King is the only injury worry with shin splints.

Photo: Gary Brabin led by example.

29 August 2021