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.
"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."
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