Pearce proud after draw in Vilnius
Wednesday, 18 November, 2009
Under-21s Head Coach reflects on point.
England Coach Stuart Pearce said he was proud of his players after the Under-21s were held 0-0 in their Euro 2009 qualifier against Lithuania on Tuesday night.
With Portugal beating leaders Greece in the day's other Group Nine encounter, a win would have put the Three Lions level at the top with a game in hand.
However, England couldn't find the net in Vilnius against a well-organised Lithuanian defence that Pearce said was difficult to play against.
“They are a very stout defensive unit, they get everyone behind the ball and they've done that in all of their matches," he said.
"They are very difficult to break down and that was the case tonight.
“We had a couple of good chances in the first half and Andy Carroll had one in the second, but if you fail to take your chances you end up with a nil-nil, which we're disappointed with but there's still all to play for."
Pearce added: "We've now won one and drawn two on our travels, which isn't so bad. We're undefeated going into Christmas, we've still got some work to do, but we're capable of getting the results needed."
Pearce still believes his team are in a good position to qualify for the play-offs for Denmark in 2011, but thinks that they will need maximum points from their remaining games.
But they'll have to wait nearly four months until their next outing, when they welcome Greece to England on 3 March.
"We're a point closer to Greece now, with a game in hand, after their result in Portugal, but we've probably got to win our three matches to top the group and go through.
"Tonight was a big learning curve for our players, but we've got the capability in our squad to get what we want from the remaining games," he said.
"I'm very proud of my players, it's not easy to get results in Europe anymore.
"We've had two clean sheets this week, they worked very hard in training and in the matches and we're in a good position in the group."
The venue for the match against Greece is still to be confirmed, but will be announced here in due course.