Pearce: There's still work to do
Saturday, 10 October, 2009
Under-21s Coach is pleased with 6-3 win, but wants to eradicate goals against.
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Stuart Pearce says his team have some areas to work on after they beat Macedonia 6-3 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Friday night.
The Three Lions had taken a 2-0 lead inside the first half hour, but the visitors responded to come back from behind twice, after England had also edged 3-2 up.
But in the end, a rampant finish from England ended the Macedonian challenge with Zavon Hines and Andy Carroll both hitting two.
It puts England second in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying group, three points behind Greece with a game in hand. However, the three goals against has left Pearce with food for thought before they welcome Portugal to Wembley next month.
“I’d have preferred it to have been 9-0 if we were going to have a nine-goal thriller,” Pearce told TheFA.com after seeing Macedonia twice come from behind.
“There was some smashing offensive play, we really cut into them at times. Some clever interchange and some direct play up to Andy Carroll as well, so it was a mix and match going forward, to score six goals is fantastic.
“Defensively, there was some awful defending really and I’m not just talking about our backline, it’s the whole team. Collectively we’ve got things to work on, but we’ll improve on that. But it’s three points again and it pushes further towards where we are looking to go."
Pearce added: “From the fans point of view, it was fantastic. The fans turned out in their numbers once again here in Coventry and we’re pleased that they’ve been sent home having seen a lot of goal mouth action.
“Hines had an impact, I though he started slow, but when we pushed him up front he had an impact alongside Andy Carroll. Carroll gives you a focal point and a couple of goals as well. A lot of them will gain from this, they are a new group together but as I’ve said many, many times you have to keep winning whilst we’re learning and improving.”
And Pearce is now looking ahead to the game at Wembley next month against Portugal. Portugal lost on Friday evening in Greece, and Pearce says win at HQ is vital.
“This group is going to be very tight and go to the wire. We’ve got Portugal up next , if we can manage to get the three points against them, all of a sudden they have two defeats in their column and it’s very difficult for them.
“We know we’ve got to improve on what we’ve done tonight. Taking the game to Wembley will be fantastic, I’m sure we’ll have great support there and we’re looking forward to that one.”
1 Scott Loach, 2 Micah Richards (c), 3 Kieran Gibbs, 4 Jack Rodwell, 5 James Tomkins, 6 Michael Mancienne, 7 Tom Cleverley, 8 Jack Wilshere, 9 Andy Carroll (18 Danny Welbeck, 90), 10 Theo Walcott (16 Zavon Hines, 46), 11 Danny Rose (14 Fabrice Muamba, 69)
Subs 12 Chris Smalling, 13 Frank Fielding, 15 Junior Stanislas, 17 Daniel Sturridge
Coach Stuart Pearce
Macedonia 1 Kristijan Naumovski, 2 Daniel Georgievski, 3 Aleksandar Lazevksi (18 Ilija Nestorovski, 72), 4 Dragan Stojkov, 5 Vladimir Dimitrovski (c), 6 Goran Bogdanovic, 7 Betim Aliju, 8 Muarem Muarem, 9 Mirko Ivanovski (14 Aleksandar Stankov, 90+3), 10 Agim Ibraimi, 11 Goran Siljanovski (16 Marko Kostencovski, 64)
Subs 12 Marko Jovanovski, 13 Jani Urdinov, 15 Stefan Spirovski, 17 Sedat Berisa
Coach Boban Babunski
Match Officials (all France)
Referee Fredy Fautrel
Assistant Referees Fredji Harchay and Cyril Gringore
Fourth Official Ruddy Buquet