The best team won
Sunday, 02 August, 2009
Head Coach thought Final was one game too far.
Nicholas Veevers in Donetsk
England U19s Head Coach Brian Eastick says victory in the UEFA European Championship Final was just one step too far for his team in Donetsk, after seeing them slip to a 2-0 defeat against hosts Ukraine.
Ukraine scored early goals in both halves to become champions, the first team to win the U19 title on home soil in the competition’s short history, and Eastick felt that they were worthy of their win at the Olimpiyskyi Stadium.
“The best team won on the day,” he admitted.
“To concede a goal so quickly was exactly the same as in the group game and when you concede a goal that early in the game, it puts you on the back foot.
“We spoke in the dressing room about getting onto the front foot, so it definitely knocked us back.
“I didn't think we played particularly well in the first half and I thought that we could improve after half time, but then the timing of the second goal really knocked the stuffing out of our team.
“Psychologically, they are good times to score and once the second goal went in, we physically and mentally struggled.
“I think Ukraine over the 90 minutes were the better side so I have no complaints about the result.”
With England having played 120 minutes of a tough game against France on Thursday, whilst Ukraine saw off Serbia in 90 minutes, Eastick felt that the strain on his players showed.
“I think the extra time against France took its toll physically and there was no doubt about that,” he added.
“We physically looked very tired today and even though we’ve got better and fitter over the last two weeks, we’re a team that are still in pre-season really.
“I think we needed another day to recover perhaps, because the extra time against France took it out of us I think.”
It was also a tremendous disappointment for the players, with many of them having been close to winning a competition such as this previously two years ago and then having to re-live the agony again.
“There’s not much you can say to the players really, it’s the same feeling as it was for the Under-21s in Sweden,” he explained.
“Everyone is bitterly disappointed and physically exhausted, but they’ve done well to get to this final and we’ll all take a great deal of experience out of it.”