We have to do better, says U17s boss John Peacock

Monday 27 Oct 2014
England U17s boss John Peacock wants his side to improve after Macedonia win

Despite securing qualification for the Elite Qualifying Round, John Peacock wants to see an improvement in his England U17s side.

His Young Lions defeated Macedonia 1-0 in Paphos on Monday afternoon thanks to a first-half strike from Lukas Nmecha – ensuring they and France progress as the top two teams in group four.

England 1-0 Macedonia

European U17 Championship
First-Round Qualifier
Monday 27 October 2014
Paphiakos Stadium, Paphos

"[Qualification] was the objective and obviously I'm pleased we have achieved that," Peacock told TheFA.com.

"We set the lads the target to qualify after the second game, which we have done.

"But I thought it was a poor game today and the boys know that. We have to be better if we want to progress."

The contest was a feisty one, with England's opponents receiving five cautions as they employed spoiling tactics throughout.

"Discipline is the right word and it's a word we spoke of beforehand," said Peacock.

"It was going to be critical, and we don't want silly yellow cards.

“We have two days to look forward to England v France. These are always top, top games and I expect it to be exactly the same”

John Peacock 
England U17s head coach

"They'd obviously come to try and spoil the game, but while there is only one goal in it, they were fighting very hard. They made it difficult for us, but I think we stood the physical challenge and long ball well.

"But we didn't control the ball today and that's why we put ourselves under pressure."

The head coach made six changes to his side from the one which started against Cyprus on Saturday, and Peacock is pleased that he has been able to shuffle his pack.

"A pleasing aspect is that we have had 17 out of the 18 in the squad starting a game – there's only Aston Oxborough who hasn't. So we've rotated the squad around well and given everyone a chance."

England play their final group match on Thursday against France, with the two nations battling it out for top spot.

England U17s forward Lukas Nmecha moments after scoring against FYR Macedonia.

Lukas Nmecha scored England's winner against FYR Macedonia


And despite both having already qualified for the next stage, the boss is expecting a much better contest than the one they endured against Macedonia.

"We have two days now to look forward to the match," he said. "England v France games are always top, top games and I expect it to be exactly the same.

"We need to play better on Thursday if we want to top the group, which is the second objective after securing qualification."

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer At Paphiakos Stadium, Paphos