'All or nothing'
Tuesday, 16 October, 2012
Stuart Pearce knows England U21s qualification campaign comes down to one game in Serbia
Stuart Pearce has told his team to have no regrets in Serbia as they look to qualify for Euro 2013.
The Young Lions are one-up from the first leg on Friday, and after a long, hard campaign for the Under-21s, it all comes down to Tuesday’s game in Krusevac.
England have lost just once throughout the nine games in qualification so far, and haven’t conceded a goal since that night in Belgium last November. Another shut-out in the second leg would book their place in Israel next summer.
But Pearce says they will not be going out to simply defend as they look to win the away game in front of a sell-out 14,000 crowd in Serbia.
”This is the most difficult tournament to try and qualify for,” admitted Pearce. “We have won eight of our nine games and it means absolutely nothing.
“If we have a bad night, then some of my players might not play international football again.
“We’re going to go out and attempt to take them on. The first goal will be really important.
“If we can get the first goal and get our noses in front it’ll put a lot of pressure on them. We’ve managed to get a lead in the tie, and bring a clean sheet with us, which is important.
“But it’s going to be a fantastic game for the players, it’s a tough place to come and play but it’s something we’re looking forward to and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can deliver.”
He continued: “We have created something over the last six years, a professional environment where everyone feels the result, from the kit man right the way through.
“That transcends on to the pitch. The players get on board and run with that.”
England travelled to Serbia with a squad of 19 after seeing a number of players forced out due to injury and illness, but the Coach is confident they can finish the job off.
“What do I expect? I expect us to win the game,” he said.
“When we enter a tournament, we show the players a route all the way to the Final. We have got the opportunity here to get 50 per cent along the way to winning the tournament.”
Pearce added: “I’m not the sort of manager who panics about who isn’t here. As soon as I know what I’ve got I just get on with it.”
The Euro 2013 play-off second leg will be screened live on ESPN on Tuesday evening, 5pm kick off (BST).