Pearce praise for Loach after 'fair result'
Tuesday, 08 September, 2009
Under-21 Head Coach salutes young 'keeper after heroics in Greece.
Jamie Bradbury in Tripoli
Stuart Pearce was happy to take a point away from Greece after a tough second match in England's UEFA European Under-21 Championship qaulifier campaign on Tuesday night.
It means that after two challenging away fixtures in five days The Three Lions return home with four points as well as giving more experience to the new-look squad.
England began well against the Group Nine leaders, Daniel Sturridge putting them 1-0 up inside five minutes. But a deflected equaliser from the industrious Greek winger Sotiris Ninis just before the break brought the home side level.
Both teams had chances to win it, but with Scott Loach in fine form in the England goal it would have taken something special from the Greeks to snatch all the points, and in the end Pearce was satisfied with the draw.
He is now looking ahead to more time with the squad as they aim for a place in the Finals in Denmark in 2011.
"I think a draw was a fair result with what we saw today," he said. "Both teams had good chances, us in the first-half and Greece in the second.
"We pointed out in the dressing room that a lot of the chances that fell to Greece came from errors by us. I think that is one of the easist things to stop. If the opposition are creating chances through great skill then it's perhaps more difficult to rectify.
"Basic errors cost us tonight and we were fortunate that our goalkeeper was in outstanding form.
"Young Jack Wilshere was also very good for us. One or two made their debuts, but Scott was outstanding and credit to him."
Pearce continued: "He works hard out there and we have three 'keepers all fighting for a place in the side, but tonight Scott did extremely well, made a number of very important saves and I think he was probably our best player.
"Scott's saves have probably kept us in it. But we have to bear in mind that this group of players have only been together for three games now and I think they'll get better and better the more they play.
"Their attitude has been fantastic, they've picked up the baton from the team in the summer, they want to learn, progress and improve every day.
"I'm looking forward to working with this group during this campaign, I'm really excited by it."
The Coach also had praise for their hosts Greece, who showed why they are table toppers and serious challengers for qualification.
And the hospitality also went down well with Pearce, though he hopes Greece don't come away from England in the return fixture with quite as many good memories.
"It was a tough match for us tonight. As soon as we were drawn in this group, we felt Greece were going to be a difficult proposition, bearing in mind how well they did during the last qualifying campaign.
"That was proved right. They've got a lot of very good players; Papadopoulos, the defender, the centre forward Mitroglou, and I was impressed with the captain Pliatsikas. All through the team we were very respectful of the Greek side."
He added: "We've been treated very well in Greece. The hotel looked after us and today here at the stadium the match conditions were great and the pitch was very good, too.
"We hope next March when Greece come to play in England that they have just as good a time, but with no points."
England's next match is at Coventry City against Macedonia on 9 October, for ticket details visit www.ccfc.co.uk