A step up in class
Tuesday, 09 August, 2011
Brian Eastick knows his team need to improve further against Nigeria.
by Nicholas Veevers in Colombia
England U20s Head Coach Brian Eastick has challenged his players to show another step up in class as they ready themselves for the World Cup second stage on Wednesday.
The Young Lions face Nigeria in Armenia having come through a tricky group stage without losing a game or even conceding a goal. But Eastick knows that his charges will need to sharpen up in front of goal themselves if they are to beat the free-scoring Africans and reach the quarter final.
"We're delighted to be here and very pleased to be in the last 16,” said Eastick, after training with his team at the Estadio Centenario in Armenia.
"Things are very well here and the training facilities have been good, but we now have to find a way of beating Nigeria.
"We are playing against a very talented Nigerian team who will be very athletic and strong and very good offensively.”
Without having scored a goal in the World Cup yet, it has been a regular theme of interviews out here to turn to England’s lack of strikes. They haven’t exactly been without their chances, though, and Eastick feels his side will have to be more clinical now that they’re in the knock-out stages as well as retaining their defensive stability.
"We will have to continue to defend very well and the key will be how we play when we get possession,” he explained.
"Nigeria have some very quick players and like to attack so if they have the momentum, it will be very difficult to attack them and we will have to defend well.
"As much as I would like to play attractive and open football, that would play into Nigeria's hands.
"We need to defend very well firstly. I'm sure we will get some possession and it will depend how good we are when we do and whether we can create and convert the chances when they come our way.
"We are under no illusions though, Nigeria are a very good team and we will have to be at our best if we are going to win.
"It's the knock-out stages now, so it's cup football and anything can happen. Yellow cards, red cards, refereeing decisions, an error. The game is dictated by things like that and so many things can happen.
"We will try and stick to our game plan. I'm pleased with the players so far, they've done well and if we're going to progress we will need to improve again.”