England confident of progress says Phil Jones

England left themselves needing to win their final Group B game to avoid crashing out of the European Under-21 Championship but defender Phil Jones said: "We would have taken that before the tournament."

Stuart Pearce's Young Lions stumbled to a second successive disappointing draw last night against Ukraine, meaning they must beat the Czech Republic on Sunday to avoid an early exit from the finals in Denmark.

Jones, who once again demonstrated why Manchester United this week paid Blackburn more than £16million for his services, admitted England were poor in the first half yesterday at Herning's MCH Arena.

But the 19-year-old was confident there would not be a repeat performance in England's final group game.

"If you'd said to us at the start of the tournament going into the last game, can it be in our own hands, we'd have taken that," he said.

"Coming into the group, we knew we had three difficult teams to beat and play against.

"We've got another tough game on Sunday but we'll be ready.

"It's exciting.

"We're still confident. We know what's in the changing room.

"We've got bags of ability in there and we'll come back firing on Sunday."

Jones admitted England had been "poor in the first half" yesterday, much as they were in Sunday's opener against Spain.

"We probably didn't move it quick enough, we weren't ourselves, didn't get the ball to the wide people," he added.

"In the end, we caused our own problems in the first half.

"We responded well and we'll take that into the next game."

Although England struggled going forward, they were once again largely untroubled at the back, with new United team-mates Jones and Chris Smalling further enhancing their reputations.

"We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses," added Jones.

Pearce insisted England could handle the pressure of Sunday's must-win clash in Viborg.

They will need to improve dramatically on last night's performance if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

But Pearce was typically bullish, saying: "We go into the game Sunday having to win to go through but our destiny is in our own hands.

"This is why you bring players to tournaments, to perform under pressure.

"We've had two games against two really tough sides, we've come out of that, we've conceded one goal.

"It's all to play for once again. We go into the last game and everyone's in the mix."

That includes within his own squad, with Pearce hinting at changes for Sunday.

"One or two players have given me a great deal to think about," he said.

"The players who have not contributed so far might give us a lift on Sunday."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'