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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Pearce calls for U21 improvement
England U21 coach Stuart Pearce
We need to work that bit harder on certain things physically and technically

Stuart Pearce
Coach Stuart Pearce dismissed Leroy Lita's late penalty miss in England's 0-0 draw against the Czech Republic as being "part and parcel of the game".

But he demanded an improvement from his European Under-21s Championship squad.

"We had opportunities before the penalty to seal the game, so we're disappointed and we can play a lot better than that," said Pearce.

"For 90 minutes the game was there to be won but we weren't good enough and we have to make sure we play better."

Pearce has had his players practising spot-kicks since the end of the domestic season and they warmed up for the finals in Holland with a shoot-out against Slovakia.

Lita scored on that occasion at Carrow Road but could not find the back of the net in Arnhem.

"We don't look at Leroy and think any worse of him," added Pearce.

"One thing is for sure, he has the confidence to take one and in the next game he'll probably have the confidence to do it again.

"You do everything to the nth degree, that includes practising penalties, so I know full well we've done everything we can and we have a no-excuse environment.

"We need to work that bit harder on certain things physically and technically. The boys have got their heads down but we'll have to take the plusses out of that.

"They did their homework, put a man around Tom Huddlestone and stopped his passing range, we didn't get on the front foot enough and the game fizzled out."

Czech coach Ladislav Skorpil took an alternative view on the 90 minutes.


"It was a quality game, both teams played with good spirit and either could have won," he said.

Next up for England is a meeting against pre-tournament favourites Italy, who lost their opening game against Serbia 1-0.

And skipper Nigel Reo-Coker is confident his side can add to Italy's woes and take the spoils on Thursday.

"As soon as the Czechs lost possession they got into their shape and we found it difficult to break them down," said the midfielder.

"Everyone in the team believed Leroy would score and had no objections to him taking it. It's a well-earned point against very good opposition.

"It's a clean sheet and we can motivate ourselves to beat Italy."

Czech Rep U21 0-0 England U21
11 Jun 07 |  Internationals


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