Nathaniel Chalobah praised his England-Under-21 team-mates for the spirit they showed to come from behind and beat Slovakia at the European Championships yesterday.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side, who drew their opener against Sweden on Friday, went into the game needing a victory but fell behind midway through the first half.
Their response after the break, however, was impressive and after equalising through Swansea’s Alfie Mawson five minutes after the restart, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond fired home the winner just after the hour to send them to the top of the group.
‘It was a tough game, but we knew what we needed to do and I think we did well,’ said Chalobah who, along with Chelsea team-mates Lewis Baker and Tammy Abraham has started both games in the tournament so far.
‘I don’t think we did badly in the first half but we conceded and started rushing things a little bit. We did what we wanted to do, we stuck to the game-plan and kept trying to pick off the little spaces in the game. We always knew the goal was going to come, it was just about sticking together and sticking to the plan.’
England play Poland in their final group game on Thursday and Chalobah, as one of the more experienced members of the squad, spoke about the role he can play off the pitch.
‘I just want to go as far as I can,’ he said. ‘Both times I’ve been involved at the Euros previously have ended in disappointment so I’m working as hard as I can and trying to pass my experience on to some of the lads who are on their first trip.’
The midfielder also explained how the success he enjoyed with Chelsea last season means there is now an expectancy on him to perform.
‘Finishing the season like we did and wining the Premier League, there’s always going to be a bit of pressure as people will be watching, but that’s not for me to worry about,’ he added. ‘I just want to do the best I can and give everything.’
Boothroyd, meanwhile, felt his team overcame a huge hurdle in terms of delivering when it matters most.
‘It was a massive game for us because you hear a lot of talk about us not being able to cope with pressure but this was a massive pressure game in a partisan atmosphere,’ he said.
‘We had to be cool, calm and collected and do the job, no matter what was going on around us, so credit to the lads because that’s what they did, I thought they were excellent.
‘I think overall, we were the better team and we deserved to win.’