Pearce: 'Something to think about'
Tuesday, 29 March, 2011
Head Coach's thoughts on Iceland game and his squad selection this summer.
By Jamie Bradbury in Preston
says he's learned from Monday's defeat to Iceland and he hopes that it'll act as a 'wake-up call' as he starts to finalise his plans for Euro 2011 this summer.
His Under-21 side took an early lead at Deepdale through Nathan Delfouneso, but went down 2-1 as fellow European Championship hopefuls Iceland fought back.
But he recalled a similar defeat two years ago as his team prepared for the 2009 Finals and wants this game to have a similar effect on the players.
"I learned you can't give the ball away in sloppy areas of the pitch otherwise you'll get punished," he said, after the game.
"We got our noses in front with a very good goal then we got complacent. I don't think you can afford to do that at any level, especially international level.
"We know Iceland are a good side, we knew that going in to the game and I thought they counter-attacked us very well through the heart of our back line.
"I think they showed exactly how excited they are to come to England and play and to get a result."
He continued: "I think all-in-all we're disappointed, but two years ago we were beaten by the French 2-0 and it was two going on six or seven.
"It acted as a real wake-up call to us and we'll have to use this similar defeat as a real wake-up call."
Pearce has to submit his final 23-man Championship squad to UEFA by 1 June, and the Under-21s next game is against Norway at Southampton four days later.
So the game at Preston was his last chance to assess players at close hand and he'll now take to the road to see them in action for their clubs.
"I've got out of these last two matches exactly what I wanted to see," he said. "I could have fielded the strongest team on paper, but then I don't see Marc Albrighton, I don't see Josh McEachran, Connor Wickham, so on and so forth.
"When I went into the games I wanted to see as many players as I possibly could and I feel as though I have done that to give myself an idea for the summer.
"There's always a good spirit in our camp, a never say die attitude within the Under-21s and we were desperate to claw the game back. I thought Marc Albrighton played extremely well tonight and I think across the board everyone's given me something to think about."
Pearce added: "I've got a pool of 30-odd players that I've got to whittle down to 23. I'm sat here now in the last six weeks of the season and I'll do as many miles as I possibly can to see as many performances from young players as I possibly can.
"At the end of that I've got to pick a squad that's competitive and go and have a tilt at winning the Finals."