Pearce finds the positives from defeat
Sunday, 19 June, 2011
Stuart Pearce praises his players despite defeat to the Czechs.
England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce thought his side’s disappointing 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic was actually their best performance of the tournament.
Pearce’s team were eliminated from the competition after the loss to the Czechs, who finish second behind Spain in European U21 Championship Group B and now progress to the semi-finals while England head home.
But the manager thought his side, who were beaten by two last-gasp goals, produced their best performance of the group stage despite the result.
He said: “Once we got our noses in front we knew it would be difficult. I thought the Czechs banged up behind the ball for most of the game and they’re difficult to flush out.
“I thought it was probably the best performance of the tournament. Us going home was maybe symptomatic of not passing the ball well enough in the first two matches. But I’m proud of the endeavour of the players. They got their noses in front but were guilty of a little bit of naivety and switching off at a throw in.
“It’s a learning curve for players, any players, not just young ones. We’re disappointed as a group obviously. I felt once we took the lead we should’ve held onto it.
“I don’t think they really caused us a problem for most of the evening and I don’t think too many teams have caused us problems defensively. But if you switch off for a minute, there was a mistimed tackle on the edge of the box and a bobbled ball which falls to their player and it’s 1-1.
“After that, [the second goal] on the breakaway was neither here nor there, at that stage you’re either in or out of the competition.”