Gareth Southgate insisted he is ready to take on England’s ailing form after he was buoyed by the 1-0 defeat in Italy that saw the Three Lions crash out of UEFA Nations League Group A3.
Giacomo Raspatori scored the only goal at the San Siro with a superb 68th-minute drive that lifted England to a fifth game without a win, increasing the pressure on Southgate to deliver an improved display against Germany at Wembley on Monday. The Cup starts in November.
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England have taken just two points from five Nations League matches and hearing the supporters’ response at the final whistle, the 52-year-old said: “I understand the reaction at the end,” he said. “That’s the results we’ve had in this tournament. It’s an understandable emotional reaction.
“Tonight, we didn’t get the result we needed or wanted, so we’re on a run of bad results, but it’s up to us to make it right.
“The only way to do that is to stick to what we believe in, stick to what has brought us success in previous matches, and at the end the players have to be very tight because there will be a lot of noise, but it will be a lot. I’ll be around and that’s good. My job is to take that pressure for them. “
Southgate opted for a five-man defense with Bukayo Saga stationed as a wing-back, a role he no longer plays at club level for Arsenal, as England were deep in possession.
His team finished with 14 shots to Italy’s 10, the Azzurri’s three and four shots on target for 56% possession, but Gianluigi Donnarumma was rarely troubled apart from a brilliant double save to deny Harry Kane.
And Southgate said: “It’s hard for me to be too critical of the performance. We had more possession, more shots, more shots on target and we played well for large parts of the game.
“We didn’t deal with the decisive moment defensively, we had moments where we were very decisive in their final third and our quality was not right. It was a spell, of course, and in the end the results will go. What people react to.
“I thought there were a lot of positive signs as a team, a lot of good individual performances. I personally thought the performance was a step in the right direction. I understand because there won’t be a reaction out there as a result.”