'A learning curve'
Thursday, 21 October, 2010
John Peacock says his side can build on performance against Georgia.
by Glenn Lavery
John Peacock believes his England U17 side will benefit from their 1-1 draw with Georgia on Wednesday.
The Young Lions began their second Euro qualifier in confident fashion, boosted by their comfortable 3-0 victory over Sweden two days earlier, and deservedly went ahead against Georgia on nine minutes. However, England failed to further make apparent their superiority and conceded an equaliser just after the hour mark.
Peacock was happy with the way England started the match and is now hoping his players learn how to fully press home their territorial advantage in future games.
“We started very brightly again and I was delighted with that,” he said.
“The first 15-20 minutes was almost exclusively played in their [Georgia's] half. We took an early lead but then we couldn’t quite take advantage of all the possession we had to get a second.
“For whatever reason we didn’t start the second half particularly well,” he continued. “There was a fantastic crowd there, probably around 3,500, and I don’t think that’s something our boys have ever faced before so that would have been a new challenge to them.
“Gradually, Georgia got back into it, but we conceded what we would consider to be a poor goal because we’d worked on how to deal with their centre forward, who is a decent player, but they broke very quickly and we didn’t deal with it properly. We were left with a 2v1 situation in our favour but that cost us dearly in the end.”
So, what will Peacock be telling his players to do differently ahead of the final qualifier, against Poland on Saturday?
“When you’re on top, as we were, you need to kill teams off because the longer the game goes on the more risk there is of them catching us out. We didn’t keep the momentum going and that was a bit of a learning curve for us. Also, we probably didn’t move the ball quick enough and the tempo slowed as the game went on. They are all things we’ll be hoping to improve on before Saturday.”
Despite the draw, England still sit at the Group 3 summit, level with the host nation on four points and a draw against the Poles will guarantee progress to next year’s Elite Qualifying Round, the final round of qualifying for the European Championship Finals, which will take place in Serbia next May.
“It’s still very much in our own hands,” confirmed Peacock. “We just need to get a result against Poland and we’re through, and that has been the main objective of this trip; to make it through the group.
“Topping the group isn’t essential in terms of the draw for the Elite Round but that’s certainly what we are aiming for.
“It’s do-or-die for Poland. They’ve got one point at the moment and they need to win to stand any chance of going through. We’ll treat this game just as we have the other two and go out looking to get the win.
“We know Poland won’t just lie down though and they’ll certainly give it a go. They are a good passing side so it should be an open game, but one I’m really looking forward to.”