Stuart Pearce, the England U21 coach, conceded Lithuania had made it hard for his side as they booked a play-off place in European Championship qualifying with a 3-0 win over the Baltic nation. Two goals from Danny Welbeck sandwiched a strike from Marc Albrighton, but all three goals came in the final half hour of the match. England were deserved victors, but were made to work hard to break down a determined Lithuania side. "It was a patchy performance, but credit to Lithuania as they they made it difficult for us. It took us 75 minutes to erode them, the three substitutes gave us a lift and added some energy," said Pearce. "We knew we would create chances. I was very pleased to see the ball hit the net. We're pleased to be through - the next challenge will be tougher than the group stages but I believe in the players.
"The fatigue of the opposition played a little bit of a part. There were some good performances - Mancienne and Henderson were good, Welbeck was outstanding - he's had a fantastic 10 days.
"We know it's very difficult to progress. Even in our last qualification campaign we only conceded one goal in the group stages but went into the last game having to get a result.
This will galvanise us, the spirit in the camp has been good over ten days and will stand us in good stead.