The former Manchester City manager has reiterated the importance of Tuesday’s game against Serbia, claiming that his side's recent good form "means absolutely nothing"England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has underlined the need for focus from his youngsters in the second leg of their Euro 2013 play-off with Serbia and has warned his players against reading too much into their recent run of good results.
"This is the most difficult tournament to qualify for," Pearce told reporters in Krusevac ahead of Tuesday’s clash. "We have won eight of our nine games and it means absolutely nothing."
Pearce also stressed that, for a number of his players, the match against Serbia could prove pivotal to their international careers.
He added: "If we have a bad night, some of my players might not play international football again. That is the nature of it for those who go out of the age group and do not progress into the seniors.
"Our last year-and-a-half is tied up in the next 90 minutes and they have to handle that."
Should they progress on Tuesday, Pearce’s side will have qualified for the finals of their European tournaments for a fourth consecutive time, which would be an England record, and an achievement that Pearce claims the group "should be very proud of".
Despite the pressure on the Yougn Lions, however, their manager made sure to advertise the level of confidence he has in his side, and how the squad is relishing Tuesday’s imminent test.
"What am I expecting? I am expecting us to win," he insisted. "The first goal will be really important.
"If we can do that and get our noses in front, it will put a lot of pressure on them. We’ve managed to get a lead in the tie and keep a clean sheet.
"It’s going to be a fantastic game for the players. There is a lot of pressure on them. It’s a tough place to come and play but we’re looking forward to it and we’re ready."