VIDEO: Blake's 'toughest test yet'
Monday, 28 May, 2012
Head Coach reflects on Sunday's draw and where he felt his side went wrong.
By Nicholas Veevers
England U19s Head Coach Noel Blake
saw his side scramble a late goal on Sunday to rescue a draw against Montenegro and give the Young Lions a good chance of progressing to the European Championship Finals in July.
It had looked as though Blake's team could be on their way out of the qualification process for much of the game at Spotland, but Benik Afobe's 85th minute leveller means England are top of Group Two going into the last round of games on Wednesday with a two goal advantage over the Montenegrins in the table.
For that, Blake is thankful as he saw this Montenegro side as one of the best outfits he has ever come up against in his two and a half seasons in charge of the U19s.
"That was as tough a game as we've had since I've been doing the U19s," he told FATV after the game.
"But that's tournament football for you, and it goes until the last game as it did last year.
"Credit to the lads because they kept going, because it was a really good test and Montenegro, for me, were the better side."
After putting on such a fine performance against Slovenia at Deepdale on Friday
, England never found themselves in the same sort of rhythm on Sunday and Blake felt that his team's passing wasn't quite up to their normal standard.
"What disappointed me was our passing," he admitted. "If anyone saw the game tonight and the game on Friday, you'd think it was a different team.
"But I know we're better than that, and that's a positive."
England's final game against Switzerland takes place on Wednesday 30 May, kicking off at 7.30pm at Deepdale. Tickets cost £3 for adults and £1 concessions and are available on the night.
The match is also being streamed live and free on FATV from 7.15pm.