Stuart Pearce was pleased with the professionalism of his England Under-21 team who came away from a snowy Norway with a 5-0 victory.
Fraizer Campbell opened the scoring against a Norwegian side who failed to qualify for this summer's European Championship and were fielding a younger squad as they looked to the next campaign.
In extreme conditions with snow falling throughout, it was unfamiliar territory for The Three Lions, but they adapted well and further strikes from Adam Johnson, Tom Huddlestone and two from Matt Derbyshire, sealed a very impressive win.
"I said to the players coming into the game that I’d come away from the Ecuador match with six or seven players catching my eye and getting a really good run-out and it had given me a feel-good factor," said Pearce after the match.
"I wanted to know if we could improve on that tonight against Norway and I think we did.
"Scoring five goals away from home, especially in the conditions the game was played in, showed the professionalism of the players and it pleased me greatly.
"It’s another step closer to the European Championship in the summer, it was a clean sheet for Joe Hart and a good opportunity for some of the players who aren’t playing regularly in the Premier League for their clubs, so the fitness exercise in itself will do them good."
Pearce continued: "In a reversal of the Ecuador game when we played a team with many senior team players, we knew when we took the fixture that Norway were going to be playing with a younger side.
"Having not qualified for Sweden, they are starting to look to the next campaign, and I think that age difference and experience showed."
The former England defender, who collected 78 caps for his country, also had a word for the excellent groundstaff who work right up to kick off clearing snow, and also during the game and at half time, to ensure the game went ahead.
"In my playing days, playing in the snow like that wouldn’t have been an issue. But that in itself is good experience for the players. It didn’t stop snowing throughout the game, and the ground staff did an excellent job in clearing the pitch throughout the night. The staff at the club were brilliant.
"When we walked the stadium the day before they were forecasting heavy snow, but the groundsman said no matter what snow they had the game would go on and he was true to his word. It didn’t fluster them one bit."
Now Pearce and his side are gearing up for their second match of the week as they prepare for Euro 2009 in Sweden in June.
England meet France at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, which will also see a return to the club for Pearce, who spent 12 years at the City Ground in the 1980s and 90s.
"We’ll go into the second part of this double-header on Tuesday and have a look at one or two players with a view to the summer," added Pearce.
"For me Forest is the one club that I’m associated with. I spent twelve years at the City Ground, eight of those under Cloughie, and the club means a great deal to me.
"I always look for their result on a Saturday, so to have the opportunity for us to take a game there is really good for not only me, but for the team. It’s no small game and I’m really looking forward to it."
1 Lasse Staw, 2 Magne Simonsen (14 Hakon Skogseid, 46), 3 Havard Nordtveit, 4 Vegard Forren, 5 Joachim Thomassen, 6 Christer Kleiven (15 Peter Orry Larsen, 62), 7 Ruben Y Jensen, 8 Erling Knudtzon (18 Cato Hansen, 72), 9 Jonathan Parr (17 Espen Borufsen, 72), 10 Aram Khalili (10 Magnus Lekven, 88), 11 Tarik Elyounossi
Substitutes 12 Andre Hansen, 13 Agim Shabani, 16 Magnus Lekven
Coach Oystein Gare
1 Joe Hart (13 Scott Loach, 78), 2 Craig Gardner, 3 Andrew Taylor (14 Kieran Gibbs, 46), 4 Fabrice Muamba (15 Michael Mancienne, 46), 5 David Wheater, 6 Nedum Onuoha (c) (16 Matt Derbyshire, 46), 7 Lee Cattermole (17 James Milner, 67), 8 Tom Huddlestone, 9 Fraizer Campbell, 10 Jamie O'Hara (12 Martin Cranie, 78), 11 Adam Johnson
Coach Stuart Pearce
Referee Babak Rafati (Germany)
Assistant Referees Marco Fritz and Robert Kempfer (both Germany)
Fourth Official Ken H Johnsen (Norway)