England under-21 manager Lee Carsley has charged his side to put in a rousing performance in Saturday’s European Championship final against Spain.
The flawless Young Lions have been formidable throughout the tournament, swatting aside every team on their path without breaking a sweat.
Their performances has seen them touted as marginal favourites to land an elusive Euro title in Georgia, but five-time champions Spain could prove their toughest task yet.
However, Carsley has demanded more from his players, claiming he expects his side to put in a ‘hell of a performance’ in Saturday’s showpiece event at the Batumi Arena.
Carsley said (via The Athletic): “We’ve shown over the last two years that to play against the Czech Republic, who are a good team, three times, to play against Italy, Germany, France, Portugal and to win was a big thing for us.
“Coming into the tournament we were ranked sixth. To get out of the group felt like a good achievement. I think this team has another level to go – maybe two or three levels.
“I think if they click, it will be a hell of a performance tomorrow — and I expect them to. I think the bigger the stage, you will see a bigger intensity from the team, so I am looking forward to it.”
England U21 are on the cusp of making European history, having failed to win the competition in nearly four decades.
Carsley’s side defeated Israel 3-0 in the semi-final on Wednesday night and are yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
However, Carsley is not getting ahead of himself with the final on the horizon. He is under no illusions of the threat Spain poses, given La Roja’s vast experience in the tournament.
“Spain will be a tough team to play against,” the England boss added. “We’ve watched a lot of them, and we are really looking forward to it.
“It’s important that we defend well as a team. We’ve got both parts well so far, in terms of defending as a team and attacking through the thirds quite quickly.”
Carsley has been offered a new three-year contract by the English Football Association following his side’s exploits in the tournament. But the 49-year-old remains focused on tomorrow’s task.
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