England Under-21s manager Stuart Pearce says he is sick of defending his players after they suffered a third straight defeat in the Under-21 European championship. Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
A late goal from Israel's Ofir Krieff was enough to cap the Young Lions' miserable campaign with a 1-0 loss, another one following defeats to Norway and Italy, leaving Pearce's side at the bottom of Group A without a point.
After the game Pearce emerged in bullish mood and insisted the players themselves must be held responsible for their poor showing over the past 10 days.
"We've been beaten three times, the players have to take that on the chin," Pearce told Sky Sports. "I'm not coming out here and defending anyone, I'm sick to the back teeth of doing that in this tournament. Players have to deal with that, they have to stand out here and deal with you and the cameras.
"It's difficult to sell them on the three matches they've played here.
"The standard that we've set ourselves over a two-year period is really miles away from what we have seen here."
Pearce did reserve some praise for Andre Wisdom though, after the Liverpool defender captained the Under-21s for the first time.
"I probably wouldn't include Andre Wisdom in that, with his performance tonight. I thought he captained the side very well and hopefully he can captain the side in the future," Pearce said.
Reflecting on his own performance, Pearce refused to shoulder all of the blame, once again saying the players should defend themselves.
"I don't think there is a manager that goes around and says that," Pearce said. "The bottom line is that you expect your players to do the basics. "You don't expect to stand in the technical area and tell them [instructions] eight or nine times. It's basic football knowledge.
"I honestly don't see why I should defend these players, let them come defend themselves."
With his position as Young Lions boss looking increasingly vulnerable, Pearce admits he will consider his future when he arrives back in England.
"We were poor in this tournament, we were poor tonight. We'll fly home tomorrow and we'll see," Pearce said.
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