Pearce admits England Under-21s were second best against Italy

England Under-21s suffered defeat in their first European Under-21 Championship match on Wednesday against Italy and manager Stuart Pearce admitted his side did not deserve to win, according to Sky Sports.

Pearce’s side had a second-half goal disallowed when the scores were level but a Lorenzo Insigne free-kick gave the victory the Azzurini, who were also denied what centre-back Craig Dawson felt was a clear penalty in the first-half. Dawson also felt the officials were right to disallow his goal after a foul by Steven Caulker.

We didn’t play well tonight – it was there for everyone to see, the better side won if I am being honest,” Pearce said. “ 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.

Dawson added: “I am not going to moan about any decision as long as it was the correct decision. I thought they should have had a penalty first-half personally so it evens itself out.” The West Brom player continued: “Our performance 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.

The defeat leaves England bottom of Group A after hosts Israel and Norway played out a 2-2 draw in the tournament’s opening fixture. England next play Norway on Saturday.

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