England need belief says Pearce after Dutch loss
Published : 29 Feb 2012 23:47:02
England caretaker manager Stuart Pearce blamed a lack of belief for his side's 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands as he ruled himself out as the long-term successor to Fabio Capello.
Pearce's experimental squad looked to have snatched a dramatic late draw after two goals in the final five minutes from Gary Cahill and Ashley Young cancelled out Dutch strikes from Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
However an injury-time winner from Robben handed Holland a deserved 3-2 victory as England's youthful side were given a painful lesson in the art of finishing at Wembley.
Pearce, who had taken the England helm following the shock resignation of Capello last month, said his side's inexperience had been exposed by Robben's late knockout blow.
"Obviously when you concede a goal at that stage in the game. A little bit of know-how and a little bit of nous, maybe we would have closed the game out or maybe even have chased the game slightly," Pearce said.
"It's disappointing for us but the exercise was to learn from it, we've come up against an outstanding side who had probably their full team out at the start tonight with some outstanding international footballers.
"For our young players the exercise will stand them in good stead I think."
Pearce also alluded to the poor defending which had led to Robben's first goal, when the Bayern Munich winger surged unchallenged from deep within his own charge before unleashing a low shot to beat Joe Hart.
"The (Mark) van Bommels of this world make sure that if someone's breaking on them they don't go past them," Pearce reflected. "It's a little bit of game management at times -- Robben's just run away from one of our players.
"That's a little bit of game management, a little bit of knowhow that when you're at the young end of your career that you've got to learn. It's been a great exercise though."
Pearce meanwhile echoed the words of Capello however when he pointed to a lack of belief amongst England's footballers about their ability to challenge the elite sides in world football.
"I would have liked to have come in here tonight and be talking about 2-2, and said look decent result and a fair result.
"But credit to them they've beaten us, we have to learn by it, we have to move on and galvanise a touch more belief in themselves.
"We had a few skirmishes around their goal but I would have liked to have seen that on a more regular basis.
"All they needed was a touch more belief that they could go and hurt an opposition of this ability a touch more. It's probably that missing ingredient I think that we need to find."
Despite a growing clamour for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to be appointed as England manager, Pearce had last week indicated he was ready, willing and able to manage England at the European Championships if asked.
However the former England international stressed on Wednesday that while he would still step into the breach if required, he had no intention of making a pitch for the job full-time.
"I feel as though I'd be confident taking a squad to the Euros without a doubt because of the experience I've got as a manager and a player," he said.
"That wouldn't be daunting to me at all. But after that period I don't think I have the experience for this job.
"I'd really enjoy the summer if that opportunity was there but all I'd really be doing is buying the Football Association some time if they've not got someone in place. The full-time manager of England at this moment in time is somebody else -- it certainly isn't me."
Pearce meanwhile explained his decision to hand the captain's armband to Scott Parker on the basis of the Tottenham midfielder's profile in the squad, saying he had been the pick of "two or three" outstanding candidates.
"I just felt that Scotty possibly would grow with the role. I've seen his interaction with the other players, he's very well respected in the group," Pearce said. "That aside I think he's an extremely unselfish player.
"All those things into the mix, I thought he was an ideal man to captain the team this evening."