Stuart Pearce will return home a happy man after guiding England to consecutive wins on the road.
2009 UEFA European Championship Group 3 Qualifier
Tuesday 11 September 2007
Bulgarska Armia Stadium, Sofia
Stuart Pearce praised the U21s after they beat Bulgaria on Tuesday night to maintain their 100 per cent record in qualifying for Euro 2009.
The Young Lions began their campaign in fine form on Friday, beating Montenegro 3-0 before travelling east to a stormy Sofia where they claimed another three points courtesy of goals from Tom Huddlestone and Mark Noble.
"It was tough conditions and credit goes to the players," said Pearce, who played 78 times for England.
"We can play better than that but sometimes when you come to places like this it is about character over performances.''
With Pearce in charge of a new intake of players, two games away from home could have proved tricky as England began qualifying for the finals.
But the Head Coach was happy with how his charges gelled, particularly in horrendous playing conditions.
"It was two difficult trips to eastern Europe," he insisted. "The whole squad should be pleased with the eight days we were together.
"They were new to each other and the conditions here were atrocious. Our aim was to get on the plane with six points out of six."
England are currently second in Group 3, level on points with Portugal but behind on goal difference, and Pearce is looking forward to seeing how the leaders fare when they travel to eastern Europe.
"We knew it would be difficult and the pointer to how well we've done will be dictated by how well the Portuguese and Irish do in these two venues," he said.
Pearce will join up with the senior squad on Wednesday prior to their crucial Euro 2008 qualifier with Russia at Wembley.
"Hopefully they will get a result and give the whole country a lift,'' said Pearce. "Myself and the boys travelling back are fully behind the seniors."
Mihaylov, Domovchiyski, Bandalovski, Ivanov, Laxchev (Dulgerov, 71 mins), Kovachev, Fidanin, Orlinov (Stoev, 53 mins), Bozhinov, Dimitrov, Kyrdov (Mirchev, 61 mins).
Subs not used Nikolov, Aleksandrov, Velichkov, Starokin.
Joe Hart (Manchester City), Martin Cranie (Portsmouth), Andrew Taylor (Middlesbrough), Steven Taylor (c) (Newcastle United, Nedum Onouha (Manchester City), James Milner (Newcastle United), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Mark Noble (West Ham United) (Andrew Surman (Southampton)), Theo Walcott (Arsenal, Fabrice Muamba, Birmingham City, 55 mins), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa, Michael Kightly, Wolverhampton Wanderers, 70 mins), Matt Derbyshire (Blackburn Rovers, Luke Moore, Aston Villa, 81 mins).
Subs not used: Ben Alnwick (Tottenham Hotspur), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Adam Johnson (Middlesbrough), Craig Gardner (Aston Villa), (Dexter Blackstock (Queens Park Rangers).