Pearce: We don't become a bad team overnight

Stuart Pearce reminded his England squad they "don't become a bad team overnight" as they bid to bounce back against a Norway side whose "spirits are high".

England manager Stuart Pearce wants to see a reaction from his side against Norway
England manager Stuart Pearce wants to see a reaction from his side against Norway ©Getty Images

England manager Stuart Pearce reminded his squad they "don't become a bad team overnight" and urged them to put their Italy defeat behind them when they face Group A rivals Norway in Petah Tikva on Saturday. The former defender expects the kind of performance that helped them win nine in a row without conceding prior to the tournament, but is wary of the threat posed by Tor Ole Skullerud's Norway. If Norwegian "spirits are high" after their last-gasp equaliser against Israel, the coach is also "optimistic" his side can clinch victory against England at the third time of asking, having lost twice in qualifying.

Stuart Pearce, England manager
We drew a line under the Italy performance shortly after the game. Now we look forward to Norway. We're a decent side, we just didn't play particularly well against Italy. We know we can improve and I think we will.

The players have their tails up. The beauty of tournament football is that the games come thick and fast. The players have dealt with the disappointment and we've refocused. The important thing was to point out that we didn't perform well but we don't become a bad team overnight. We are a team that came into these championships with nine straight victories and no goals conceded.

That first game is a nervous affair and it hinders people. We've a strong squad of players that mentally want to put things right and that will start on Saturday night. The important thing, for me, is to sit back and the players have to deliver a performance fitting of England.

[Norway] are a very well-organised side with some very good individuals in the group. At U21 level this is as strong a group as they've had for a number of years. The mark of that is they are here now at the finals.

There are certainly some good players here and quite a few have been involved in the senior team which shows what a good group of young players Norway have. They have a team playing a good brand of football. We played them twice in qualifying and were fortunate to come out on top in both games.

Matchday one result
England 0-1 Italy (Insigne 79)
Butland; Clyne, Caulker, Dawson, Robinson; Henderson, Lowe; Redmond, Shelvey (McEachran 75), Sordell (Chalobah 65); Wickham (Delfouneso 82).

• Italy ended England's nine-match winning streak and breached their defence for the first time in 889 minutes thanks to Lorenzo Insigne's free-kick.

Team news
Wilfried Zaha is in contention for a starting berth after only featuring as an unused substitute against Italy because of an ankle complaint. Thomas Ince and Danny Rose are available after suspension but Henri Lansbury remains out with a groin strain.

Tor Ole Skullerud, Norway coach
The mood is very good, we had a great finish to the game against Israel. It gave us a boost and when we talked about the game the day after, we were happy to get a point. Spirits are high, we've had a good couple of days' build-up and we are ready for a new game.

I was happy with some of the things we did against Israel so there won't be big changes in the way we play against England. We hope that third time around [against England] we will have the edge but England are a very good team. Both games against them [in qualifying round Group 8] were tough and we could have got more out of them than we did. I hope it is going to be a close game again, we would very much like to beat England.

I want us to produce a performance like we did in the first game and create chances but we need to be a little more effective than against Israel. We need to take our opportunities because we won't have as many as we did in the first game. Hopefully we will put the ball in the net a few more times.

I am pretty sure England will have a better side than in the first game. We have played England twice before so we know the two players coming back from suspension [Ince and Rose] and the player returning from injury [Zaha]. I think we know everything we need to know about England. They are a very good side and it's going to be tough for us but I know we can compete because we have done so before and I am optimistic.

Matchday one result
Israel 2-2 Norway (Biton 16pen, Turgeman 71; Pedersen 24, Singh 90+1)
Nyland Haskjold; Elabdellaoui, Semb Berge, Strandberg, Hedenstad; Eikrem, Johansen, Konradssen (Nielsen 76); De Lanlay (Linnes 76), Pedersen, Berget (Singh 76).

• Israel led through Nir Biton's early penalty but Marcus Pedersen pegged them back eight minutes later. Norway were reduced to ten men when Vegar Hedenstad saw red just before the break and Alon Turgeman's strike had seemingly given the hosts victory only for substitute Harmeet Singh to deny them at the death.

Team news
Hedenstad is banned following his first-half dismissal against Israel but otherwise Skullerud has a full squad to choose from. "We have no injuries and everyone is fit for the game," he said. Markus Henriksen, Valon Berisha, Joshua King and Håvard Nordtveit were all involved in the senior team's 1-1 draw against Albania in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Friday. They flew directly to Israel after the game and are now available to Skullerud.

Match fact
The teams were drawn together in the same qualifying round group, England winning both matches to continue their strong record in competitive fixtures between the sides, which shows only one defeat in six such contests.

Did you know?
Nordtveit left FK Haugesund for Arsenal FC in summer 2007 but, after several loan spells, did not make a first-team appearance and joined VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach four years later.

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