Pearce takes positives from defeat

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England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce insists his youngsters will emerge stronger after losing their long unbeaten run with defeat to a senior Ecuador side in Malaga on Tuesday night.

Pearce's team were 2-0 up against the South Americans, who had players with World Cup experience in their squad, before eventually losing 3-2 at Estadio La Rosaleda.

It was a first defeat in 16 games - indeed, since 2005 the Under-21s had only lost a penalty shoot-out to Holland and Pearce said: "It was about experience and it served us very well. They had 500 senior caps between them, we had five."

England looked to be on course for a win from their Spanish trip after Adam Johnson and Fraizer Campbell scored stunning first-half goals.

Middlesbrough winger Johnson flicked the ball over two defenders before volleying into the top corner, while Campbell finished off a swift counterattack with a crisp finish.

"The two goals would grace any pitch in the world," Pearce said. "We were happy with 2-0 against an Ecuador senior side.

"We gave away three sloppy goals. Maybe a draw would have been fair but the main thing was playing against a team with a different style."

Ecuador struck back through Joffre Guerron and Pablo Palacios, then Manchester City striker Felipe Caicedo netted the winner with eight minutes left.

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Manchester City
Premier League
Stuart Pearce
Adam Johnson
Felipe Caicedo
Fraizer Campbell

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