Pearce disappointed by early exit

09 June 2013 07:18

England Under-21s manager Stuart Pearce is disappointed to have been knocked out of the European Championship - but not surprised, given he was without several of his best players.

The Young Lions deservedly lost to Italy 1-0 on Wednesday and on Saturday night were embarrassed 3-1 by Norway, condemning them to an embarrassing group-stage exit for the second successive tournament.

"It's football. I've been involved in football for 25 years," Pearce said. "Humiliation isn't a word I'd use. Big disappointment, that's for sure. But I'm very proud to do this job and proud to represent my country, as my players are, so they'll be hurting."

He added: "It's the nature of football. I thought we started very well and passed well without hurting Norway and that got us into the mentality that we just needed to pass the ball without switching on to the defensive side."

Efforts from Fredrik Semb Berge, Jo Inge Berget and Magnus Eikrem put Norway three goals up at Ha Moshava, before Craig Dawson got a consolation from the penalty spot.

Asked if he thought England would have fared better if they had more senior players in Israel, Pearce said: "Your words, not mine. We've just been beaten by Norway. I have to take that on the chin.

"Hopefully people outside of me will pick that up and run with it. The team that takes their best players will win the tournament. The teams that don't won't - they'll go home early. That's the nature of football.

"I probably can't try any harder than I actually am (to persuade more big players to come). Wake-up calls should come in the two years in between - not when you go to tournaments."

Pearce's contract expires at the end of this month and he has not been given any assurances over his future.

"(My job situation is the) same as it was. Results don't change my mentality at all," Pearce said. "I will sit down with FA when get back from this tournament and the plan was to discuss it. I enjoy the job."

Source: PA