Gareth Southgate believes his young players will not suffer lasting damage from ‘punishment’ and ‘painful’ Nations League defeat at Hungary – calling on his detractors to judge his team when it is complete.
The Three Lions were humbled with a shock 4-0 defeat at Molineux as Roland Sallai’s brace was completed by a howler from Zsolt Nagy and – shortly after John Stones’ red card – Daniel Gazdag’s cool finish a night fans booed the team and chanted ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ at Southgate.
It was the worst possible end to England’s grueling four-game Nations League streak in just 11 days and leaves a sour taste in your mouth with just two September games before the World Cup.
Southgate took full responsibility for the record loss, the first time they suffered a home defeat by four or more goals without scoring.
At the end of a season that started 311 days ago with the Community Shield, Southgate had to continually shuffle their pack as they also wanted to consider options ahead of Qatar.
“It’s a night of retribution,” admitted Southgate.
“We haven’t lost many football matches and when you lose so heavily at home, especially with England It’s going to be very, very painful.
“It was a tough night for the players, I feel for them, because in the end, in the two Hungry games in particular, I picked teams where I tried to balance the squad, give opportunities to young players and I didn’t have the right balance to help them be able to perform at the level they needed to win those games.
“The responsibility lies with me on that, but there was also a fact that it was really difficult to put the strongest team in every game.
“So we used it to prepare for Qatar, some of those players are going to be beyond Qatar as well. But of course a night like this is really tough and it’s important that I take that away from them, because it’s up to me.
Southgate helped bridge previous divisions between the England squad and their supporters, taking them to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and reaching the final of Euro 2020 last summer.
But a minority turned against him in Wolverhampton, with some chanting “you get fired tomorrow morning”.
While he said he understood why there was newly developed criticism in this disappointing Nations League run, he asked that he and his players be assessed when all of their best players are fit and available.
“I know the role. I knew the role before I took it,” he said when asked about the drastic change in attitude towards him.
“I would say it was over a 10 day period but I have seen my predecessors go through this and know some great people like Sir Bobby Robsonwhat he had to go through and how he was perceived at the end to get the team to a World Cup semi-final, so the football is emotional.
“People pay to come and watch. They will give an opinion. The team was unable to deliver tonight, my responsibility and so if the flak comes my way, I have to deal with that.
“It’s not realistic to have had the ride I had for five years and not have bad nights.
” It is not pleasant. The irony is that the pressure we’ve had and the reputational comments have come in both Nations League campaigns and in neither campaign have we been able to choose our strongest teams for the matches.
“The games where every other English manager was judged, we had the best performances for 50 years, so there’s a balance in my head.
“I’m very clear but I fully understand tonight’s response, I fully understand that there’s been this narrative all week.
“I can’t dress up what happened tonight in any way, but if we’re judged on games with our full players then I think that’s a different assessment.”
England have just two games left before starting their World Cup campaign, completing their Nations League group in September with a trip to Italy and a clash with Germany at Wembley.
Southgate remain confident that England will be among Qatar’s favorites despite this annoying end to the current season.
When asked if he was still confident of a World Cup success, he replied: “After a result like tonight’s, whatever my answer to that question, it will be ridiculed.
“So I have to find the right balance, that’s what we’re very clear about. What’s working for us, what’s working for us? What has had results for us? , it didn’t strike the right balance in those games. But I think there are extenuating circumstances to that.
“We have always said that we are part of a group of teams that can push in the winter. I don’t believe it’s any different.
Gareth Southgate backs young England players to bounce back from Hungary loss
Source link Gareth Southgate backs young England players to bounce back from Hungary loss