Blake pleased with Czech test
Wednesday, 29 February, 2012
Head Coach speaks on Tuesday's win at the Orient.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake admitted he was pleased with his squad’s performance on Tuesday night, as they beat Czech Republic at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium.
In what was the final game for the U19s before they turn their attentions to May’s European Championship Elite Qualifying Round, the Young Lions could quite easily have clocked up a more emphatic scoreline but it was the all-round display which caught Blake’s eye.
“I thought it was a very good performance from us, particularly in the first half,” admitted Blake after the game.
“We used the ball quite well and grew into the game after being patient in the early stages.
“They pressed us quite high and made it difficult to play through them, but once they opened up and we scored the first goal, I thought we controlled the game.
“As happens so often in international football, the first goal came on the counter attack but as the game wore on, I thought we were the better side and we could have been two or three up at half time.”
Blake took the opportunity to look at all 18 members of his squad and after re-adjusting to a new shape with different personnel in the second half, saw the visitors prove a few more problems and test his team and the reaction of his players was something he was happy to see.
“In the second half, we made a few substitutions and looked at all of the players and the Czechs grew into it a little bit,” he explained.
“In many respects, I was quite pleased that happened because that teaches us to learn that in football, it’s not always going to be one-way.
“Sometimes you have to get your way back into the game and we did that.
“There were some very good individual performances, but our policy is not to focus on individuals, although they’ll know who they are.
“But the team ethos was very good and I’m pleased with that.”
Whilst plenty of chances went begging throughout the 90 minutes, Blake was comfortable enough with his team’s creativity in order to get those opportunities and openings.
“I thought we looked sharp at times,” he added. “Harry’s been in good goalscoring form for Millwall and Berahino looked lively too.
“It was a good move for the second goal, a great ball in and great to see Pat Bamford get his first international goal.
“It’s been an interesting few weeks for him with the move to Chelsea and everything, but we had him with the U18s last year so we know all about Pat and he took his goal very well.
“He could even have got a hat-trick tonight, as could Berahino on another day."