Pearce pleased with performance
Wednesday, 11 August, 2010
Head Coach feels Young Lions can improve further next month.
Click here to watch highlights of the match
England Under-21s Head Coach Stuart Pearce guided his team back into winning ways on Tuesday night, as the Young Lions comfortably saw off Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate.
With almost five months since their last game together, a disappointing defeat against Greece, the match was important for Pearce and his staff as they continue to prepare for two crucial European Championship qualifiers next month.
Goals in the second half from Danny Rose and Martin Kelly in Bristol were enough to secure the victory and the game also gave Pearce a chance to look at several new options for the future, with debuts for the likes of Kelly, Phil Jones, Victor Moses, Jordan Henderson and a first start for goalkeeper Frank Fielding.
However, Pearce still feels there is more to come from his players and is hoping that it will all come to fruition in September.
"We're under no illusions that when we go to Portugal and play Lithuania next month in must-win games, we probably have to improve on that performance once again,” he said. “But, there's enough ability to do that in this squad.
“We looked a touch vulnerable on the break and at set-plays, and that's something we'll have to look at, but in the main I think everyone - bearing in mind we only had one day on the training pitch, to have a look at a system slightly different to what we're used to playing - applied themselves fantastically well so credit to the players.”
With England Manager Fabio Capello watching on from the stands too, it was a good opportunity for the players to impress and Pearce believes all of the players involved can now return to their clubs with their heads held high and with another cap under their belts.
"He (Fabio) saw the game and as we all do, we see slightly different things in the game and slightly different pluses and minuses in the game,” added Pearce.
“I can only speak on what I saw and we probably played as well tonight as we have done for the last year I would suspect. There was some great interchange of play and the only thing that was probably lacking was putting the ball in the back of the net a few more times than we actually did.
"I spoke at the hotel beforehand and said there's a lot of people out there that wheel out statements like 'meaningless friendly'. There's no such thing.
“Now we sent 17 players to their clubs fully fit now, with an international cap to their name and with a feel-good factor that all of them, to a man, have played extremely well.
“That's a benefit to me, a benefit to the nation and it's certainly a benefit to the clubs.”