Pearce makes case for defence

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Stuart Pearce has called on the England Under-21s to put their new-found defensive resilience into action once more against Lithuania in Vilnius on Tuesday night.

The young Lions kept on course for a place in the 2011 European Championships with a 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday and are now second in Group Nine, three points behind leaders Greece, holding a match in hand, with the eventual winners and four best-runners up automatically qualifying for the finals in Denmark.

"The resilience of the team was the most important thing to come out of Saturday," Pearce told

"In recent games, we have shipped goals cheaply.

"The Portugal performance was a real major stepping stone forward for this team as a group.

"We have played better at times in matches, but in terms of gelling together as a unit, Saturday was a real marker for us.

"England teams, going back 20 years to when I started, were all built on clean sheets.

"We feel as though we have got goals in our squad. Now we have to build on being difficult to score against.

"We will be buoyed up for Tuesday night. They have been told exactly what is expected of them - that is to play better against a team which are hard to break down. We will have to be fully at it to get three points."

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Stuart Pearce

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