Blake happy with first win
Wednesday, 09 September, 2009
U19s Head Coach speaks on victory.
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake tasted victory in his first game in charge on Tuesday night, when he saw the Young Lions come back from a goal down to beat Russia in Shrewsbury.
With European Championship qualifiers coming up in October, Blake wanted his side to be presented with good opposition and that is exactly what they got in a lively Russian team.
"It was a tough first game and we chose this one deliberately because we've got our qualifiers in Slovenia next month," said Blake after the game.
"We wanted tough opposition and that's what we got, they made it hard for us and we had to earn that victory.
"We didn't start well in the first half, far from it, but to be fair there are a lot of new boys in the group and I did tell them that it would be tough.
"We certainly learnt a few lessons, but it wasn't all doom and gloom and once we woke up, we got going.
"So despite our poor early showing, I was reasonably pleased overall with the result."
There were a total of 12 debutants at U19 level on the night, along with a few new faces to the international scene and Blake was pleased with the way his players acquitted themselves on the international stage, which offers a different challenge to anything thrown at players in club football.
"There were six new faces in the group and they've all had a taste of it now and overall, we're quite pleased," he added.
"They have all learned lessons and what's it's like, so that is great for them in the future and a terrific experience against such tough opposition.
"We didn't have any U18 fixtures last year, so the last time a lot of this group played together was actually against Russia out in Israel as U17s, maybe 18 months ago."
Video highlights of the game can be seen now by clicking the play icon at the top of the screen.