The game in Krusevac ended with disgraceful scenes, but the Young Lions' boss insists he is proud of his players' reaction and will leave the matter in the hands of officials.
England Under-21s’ 1-0 (2-0 aggregate) victory against Serbia in a U-21 European championship qualifier on Tuesday evening was marred by violent scenes and what appeared to be racial abuse directed at a number of the players from fans.
The victory means that the Young Lions have reached their fourth successive European Under-21 Championships in a row, as manager Stuart Pearce makes history to become the first manager to guide a team to such a feat. That is all secondary though, as after the final whistle was blown a number of altercations appeared to ensue between members of both teams’ players and coaching staff, with some players making gestures that they had been racially abused by the crowd.
Pearce has confirmed that the incidents have been reported to UEFA.
“One or two racist incidents from the crowd [were directed at the players] and it has been reported to UEFA,” he told ESPN. "It’s for them to deal with now. I’m just proud of my team for reaching their fourth tournament in a row.”
The former Manchester City man has praised the reaction of his players throughout the disgraceful scenes, during which Danny Rose was issued with a second yellow card after the final whistle.
“It’s very sad [the way the match ended], but we’re united as a team,” he continued. “I’m proud of the reaction of players, and it’s a real shame, because it was a close game over two ties. It’s a shame it was soured in last few minutes.”