Peacock salutes second-half showing
Tuesday, 25 May, 2010
Head Coach happy with second-half performance against Turkey.
UEFA European U17 Championship
By Glenn Lavery in Liechtenstein
John Peacock praised his side’s second-half performance after England came from a goal down to beat Turkey 2-1 in the final group match of the UEFA European U17 Championship Finals.
With qualification to the last four already secured, Peacock knew a point would see his team confirm first place in Group B but Turkey came out and really took the game to England, themselves knowing a win would see them top the table at the Three Lions’ expense.
Okan Derıcı gave Turkey the lead just after the half-hour mark but Saido Berahino equalised just four minutes later with an impressive individual goal, allowing England to go in level at the break even though Abdullah Ercan’s side had the better of the first half.
Peacock’s half-time team talk then brought about a dramatic alteration to proceedings as England grabbed the upper hand after the interval and forced the Turks on the back foot, with Rob Hall’s 62nd-minute penalty enough to seal all three points and a ninth straight victory in the European Championship.
“I was a little bit disappointed with how we started,” admitted Peacock. “Turkey did start better than us. I think we gradually grew into the game and I was pleased we got the goal before half-time and then I do think we controlled the game throughout the second period.
“In the second half we were prepared to speed up the attack. We got the second goal and as far as we are concerned, it’s then a question of managing the game and I think it’s a great education for young players to do that. It’s always enthusiasm that you get with young players; they always want to keep attacking. But they have to learn how to manage a result, so I think that was quite important for us. Having said that, we missed one or two chances towards the end but we are quite pleased with a 2-1 victory.”
This match also allowed Peacock to utilise his full quota of 18 players, something he said he would do before the Finals even begun. He gave Jack Butland, Tom Thorpe, Ben Gibson, Luke Williams, Berahino and Hall their first starts in these Finals and helping England claim their third consecutive victory in the group would have increased this particular group’s confidence.
“It was very important for me to manage the squad of players I’ve got here,” said Peacock. “I have great belief in this squad and it was always going to be a question of using all the 18 [squad members] to get to where we want to get to.”
This victory sets up a semi-final against France, who finished second in Group A, behind Spain. England and France played out a 1-1 draw in February in the Algarve Tournament and Peacock is expecting another tight encounter on Thursday.
“It was a very close game,” he said, of February’s draw, “and I expect the same again.
“It’s interesting, that of the four semi-finalists three have won this tournament before and we haven’t, so we’ve really got to set our stall out now to break our duck. But, first and foremost we’ve got to get past France and that will be a very tough match for us. We’ll deal with that over the next couple of days and prepare properly.”