Blake pleased with French performance
Thursday, 06 October, 2011
Head Coach reflects on 2-2 draw with France.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake feels his side are on the right track, after seeing the Young Lions denied a deserved victory by hosts France in Limoges on Wednesday evening.
Blake's team took the lead twice in their tournament opener, only for France to strike back and then hang on for a draw but despite the result it was his team's performance which pleased the Head Coach most.
“We’ve just watched the DVD of the game and we actually played better than I thought at the time," explained Blake to TheFA.com.
“We had the better chances in the game and we played well with the ball and without the ball. There was some good football, through the thirds of the pitch, so we were pleased.
“Obviously there’s always bits and pieces where we could improve, but I was pleased with the performance and that’s the main thing as far as we’re concerned, not the result."
England took a deserved lead in the game through Manchester United striker Will Keane, but it was the build-up to that goal which left Blake purring the most, as a flowing team move led to a classy opener before Jack Robinson netted with a direct free-kick in the second half.
“A lot of people will see our first goal and won't believe it’s from an England team," he said.
"It was a great footballing goal, with two and three touch play between Jack Robinson, Nic Yennaris, Saido Berahino and Larnell Cole before Keano finished it off.
“The second goal was a clever free-kick from Jack Robinson, who’d been lively all night. it was good to see an England team score direct from a free-kick because it's not something we do enough of."
Attentions have already been turned to Friday's game when Portugal are the opposition and Blake and his squad have been working on where they might be able to improve in that fixture.
“Our game management could have been better against France and that’s what we’ve worked on in training today," he added.
"Obviously we conceded a goal just before half-time and then before full-time, so we can work on that.
“Overall though, I was pleased with the performance as a team and there were some good individual displays."