Gareth Southgate vows to bounce back like Sir Bobby Robson did after England fans turned on him during ‘very, very PAINFUL’ 4-0 defeat by Hungary… as boss asks to be judged on matches when his team is at ‘full strength’
- Gareth Southgate was booed by England fans after the 4-0 defeat at Molineux
- He was taunted with chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ by disgruntled supporters
- Manager admitted that the reaction ‘hurts’ but accepted it was ‘chastening’ night
- He put the Hungary defeat down to a young side and attempt to go all-out attack
Gareth Southgate vowed to take inspiration from the likes of the late Sir Bobby Robson after England fans turned on him and his players following their humiliation against Hungary and worst home defeat since 1928.
Southgate was taunted with chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ and ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ as England collapsed to a thumping 4-0 defeat at Molineux but insisted he will handle the flak coming his way.
The record-breaking hammering – the first time ever England had lost a home match by four or more goals without scoring – rounded off an international break to forget for the Three Lions which has left Southgate seriously feeling the heat.
Gareth Southgate was booed by England fans after the 4-0 Hungary hammering at Molineux
Some England supporters turned on the country’s most successful manager in decades
England have failed to win any of their four Nations League games, lost both matches against Hungary and the only goal they scored was a Harry Kane penalty.
Southgate said: ‘I knew the role before I took it. I would say it [fans’ opinion of him changing] has happened over 10 days not 11 months but I saw all my predecessors go through that and I know great people like Sir Bobby Robson what he had to go through and how he was viewed in the end on getting the team to a World Cup semi-final.
‘Football is emotional, people pay to come and watch, will give an opinion. The team weren’t able to deliver tonight, that’s my responsibility so if the flak comes my way I have to deal with that.
‘You won’t be the England manager, it’s not realistic to have the ride I’ve had for five years and not have bad nights, difficult nights, criticism, that’s part and parcel of the job. I understand tonight is a chastening experience.
‘We’ve not lost many football matches and when you lose so heavily, at home especially, but when you lose heavily with England it’s going to be very, very painful.
‘This group of players have been unbelievable for their country. It’s important people stick with them as they’ll be strong moving forward.
Southgate admitted the heavy defeat at Molineux was a chastening experience
‘It [fan reaction] is not pleasant. The irony is that the pressure we’ve had and the reputation or comments have come in the two Nations League campaigns, and in neither campaign have we been able to pick anything near our strongest team.
‘The matches in which other England managers have been judged we’ve had the best performances for 50 years. I totally understand there’s been this narrative all week. I can’t dress up tonight in any way shape or form but if we’re judged on matches with our full strength players it’s a different assessment.’
Southgate made nine changes to his starting XI, further attacking switches as he chased the game and held his hands up for what followed.
But he also warned that the less-experienced players given opportunities in the last 10 days had blown their opportunity to impress him.
England suffered their heaviest defeat at home since 1928 in a 4-0 thumping
He said: ‘We picked a young team with energy and when the game started to go against them it started to look that way. That’s my responsibility at the end.
‘We’ve seen we have to be at full strength and it was an important experience for lots of young players over these games.
‘We’ve got very good young players but they need the experienced players around them and that’s the balance that when the game started to go against them tonight I didn’t put enough leadership around to them to allow that to happen.’
This international break might have represented a reality check when it comes to not just the depth of Southgate’s options but also their World Cup prospects.
Harry Kane thinks it is important not to overreact and the mission remains the same
Asked if he was as confident about their prospects in Qatar as he was before England’s quartet of matches, Southgate added: ‘Of course after a result like tonight whatever I answer to that question will be open to ridicule so I’ve got to get the balance right that what we’re very clear on is what works for us, what gets results, what has got results for us.
‘We didn’t get that balance right in these games but there are mitigating circumstances for that. So we’ve always said we’re one of the group of teams that can be pushing in the winter. I don’t think that’s different.
‘Other big teams have had difficult periods in this competition it’s been a really unique set of circumstances for every country to deal with.
‘We’re only looking at the focus on ours but I’m looking at the balance across Europe and there are a lot of countries in a similar situation so I have to take the lessons learned from all the games played, some good, some not so good and apply those for giving us the best chance of success in the winter.’