A fair result in the end
Saturday, 25 July, 2009
U19s Head Coach felt that Friday's scoreline was probably the right result.
Nicholas Veevers in Donetsk
After the excitement and nail-biting end to Friday’s game with Ukraine, Head Coach Brian Eastick felt a point was probably the right result.
The Young Lions had conceded an early goal which gave them a mountain to climb, but they more than did that by storming back into the lead and then having opportunities to extend that.
However, the hosts struck back and went on to finish the game strongly, backed by a vociferous home crowd desperate to cheer them on to victory.
“It was probably the right result in the end,” admitted Eastick after the game.
“We made the worst possible start to the game, which was disappointing because I told them to expect a fast start from Ukraine but I think they were still in the dressing room when Ukraine scored.
“After that though, I thought we played some really good football going forward and we deserved to get the equaliser.
“I thought when we went 2-1 up, we could possibly go on and win the game when we had two decent chances to get a third goal but it just wouldn’t go in.
“But in the end I think Ukraine will be disappointed they didn’t win the match too because we tired in the last 15 minutes of the match and they had chances.
“Once the game went to 2-2, I don’t think we managed the game very well, but I think over the 90 minutes, 2-2 was the best result.”
With the Ukrainian season just at its end and the English one just about to start, the fitness of the players played a big part in the game, but Eastick feels his squad are growing nearer to their peak level.
“Our players are still only midway into pre-season, so were always going to tire,” he added.
“But we’re getting fitter and fitter by the day and I think our performance tonight was much better than against Switzerland in the first game.”
Eastick also reserved special praise for his defence, which had something of a makeshift look to it following the withdrawal of several players from his initial squad and standby list.
“Out of the defence that played, we had Kyle Walker, who is normally a right-back and Matthew Briggs, who is only 18 and is normally a left-back, playing in central defence,” he explained.
“We’ve had to do that because out of the original squad of 30 that we gave to UEFA we had four central defenders in there but they have been taken out of the squad for whatever reason.
“It’s a problem we’ve had to deal with and it’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.”
The result leaves England knowing that any sort of victory in their final game with Slovenia on Monday will be enough to see them into the semi-finals and Eastick admits he isn’t surprised that it’s gone down to the last game.
“The group has gone down to the wire as I thought it would do,” he said.
“We need to win our last game and so do Ukraine so there is everything to play for and hopefully we can get three points and move on to the semi-final.”