European Under-21 Championship: England coach Stuart Pearce admits poor display
Stuart Pearce admits England were second best as they went down 1-0 to Italy in their European U21 Championship opener.
Last Updated: 06/06/13 12:10pm
Lorenzo Insigne scored the winner just over ten-minutes from time with a stunning free-kick but it was now more than Italy deserved as they dominated for most of the evening in Israel.
"We didnt play well tonight - it was there for everyone to see, the better side won if I am being honest," Pearce told Sky Sports.
"They caused us problems, their front-line with their movement caused us problems and we got caught in between how to play against them and we didn't get any performances from our bigger players from within the game as well.
"We can't grumble about the result we were well beaten and we just have to prepare for Saturday's game and we have to finish on top of three teams now in regard to ourselves, Norway and Israel."
Craig Dawson saw a goal controversially disallowed just into the second-half when the sixth official gave a foul by Steven Caulker in the build-up.
"If it was a correct decision, well done to the sixth official I am not going to moan about any decision as long as it was the correct decision," he said.
"I thought they should have had a penalty first half personally so it evens itself out, our performance we put on tonight wasn't good enough - maybe the nerves of the first game, we have played a hell of a lot better than that coming into this tournament.
"I thought we stuck in the game even though we were getting dominated in possession and movement, but we have to learn by these boys, we didnt play well enough that is for sure and we have to re-load again and get ready for Saturday.
"I don't think we had a enough legs getting in behind defence, their movement was clever and our movement was stagnant. We will have a look and feed it back into the players and come back on Saturday."
Pearce admits England did miss the players who were sidelined for the match.
"Am I going to miss a player like Danny Rose who has been outstanding for club and country? Tom Ince who has done exactly the same and Wilfried Zaha and Lansbury of course we do, they are big players at this level but this was about the players who stepped on the pitch but we will look Saturday and see who is available," he continued.
"The big thing is that we played as badly as that and only conceded one goal, I think as the game went on the Italian threat was nullified, and Nathan Redmond's performance for his first at this level, he was a threat to the Italians and those two things are what I can take from this game.
"We probably now have to win both games but same could be said for Norway and Israel."