John Peacock believes his U17s can get a positive result in opening Euro qualifier
UEFA European U17 Championship 2013
First Qualifying Round
Estonia, England, Northern Ireland, Wales
21-26 October 2012
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England U17s Head Coach John Peacock is confident that his players can get their European Championship qualifying campaign off to a winning start on Sunday with victory over Estonia.
With three fixtures in just six days, Peacock believes an opening win over the host nation would hold the Young Lions in good stead for their following games against Northern Ireland and Wales.
He said: “It is a tight schedule and we have some very tight games.
“There are no easy games internationally, which we see at senior level right the way down to our development teams. Every game is a tough game.
“Going to somewhere like Estonia, who will be our first game and will want to do well against us, getting off to a good start is important.
“So, we will obviously be looking to try and win the game on Sunday and that will set us up then for the rest of the week.”
The Young Lions go into the match at the Lilleküla Stadium on the back of three games without a clean sheet, something which Peacock has stressed to his players.
“I know full well that everyone will be looking to get the scalp of England, so we have got to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he explained.
“And I think we need to keep clean sheets more regularly than we have done.
“So, this week I have set the objective to the players to make sure we defend better than we have done in the past.
“We can score goals, I know this team does have goals in them, but we have to be more resolute as a team when we haven’t got the ball.
“If you look at the Under-21s and their record recently in qualifying for the European Finals again, it is based on the back of keeping clean sheets on a regular basis and that is something we must do.”
Peacock’s young squad will face the added challenge of playing in front of a passionate home crowd in Tallinn.
But while admitting that the home support may prove beneficial to Estonia, he is confident that his young side can take control of the match and collect all three points.
“I think it is always an advantage, but at the end of the day we want the three points and that has to be the key objective.
“What we have got to do is we go out there with a positive frame of mind, impose ourselves on them a little bit and make sure that we get off to a winning start.”