Southgate says England must be “completely ruthless” after its “compromises” cost it victories

Southgate says England must be “completely ruthless” after its “compromises” cost it victories

Gareth Southgate says England must be “completely ruthless” from here on out as preparations for the World Cup escalate in the wake of the Nations League’s punishing results in June.

England are in Milan to face the final of Euro 2020, Italy, on Friday night, knowing that the defeat will see them relegated from the top flight of the Nations League.

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It would be an awkward time and another difficult obstacle for one of the World Cup favorites in their penultimate match before the tournament.

The Southgate side are determined to return to winning ways on Friday, returning to the field for the first time since fans called the head coach during the humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Hungary.

“Well, the individual part is not important,” said the England boss of the club he faced. “We have analyzed everything, every department.

“I think when you’re winning… we were on the run for that 22-game summer without losing and maybe you don’t analyze wins as keenly as you analyze losses.

“It’s probably not the right approach actually.

“But I felt I had compromised some decisions internally and you don’t win if you compromise.

“It was good for me to hone that focus again because what we are going through we have to be completely ruthless and I have to create an environment for the players that allows them to excel.

“And to provide them with the best platform to be at the level they have been at for the past five or six years.”

Asked what the trade-offs were, Southgate said, “No, because they’re internal things we’re working on as a team, so they don’t need to be public.”

The losses to Hungary in June ended a meager four-game record, with a 1-0 defeat in Budapest followed by a closed-door draw in Germany against the Azzurri.

But Molineux’s 4-0 was the devastating blow that left them at the crossroads with the World Cup just 60 days away.

“I’m not really sure it’s about form because when you’re in an international environment, there are so many weeks and months between games that you start from scratch every time, really,” Southgate said.

“There were a lot of circumstances in the summer with, first and foremost, high quality matches, high quality opponents, but also the need to take care of some of our great players.

“I think every nation has done it. Speaking with the leaders of Denmark, Belgium and France over the summer, they all found a challenge because they are also thinking about the World Cup.

“Also players we wanted to see more of because there aren’t any friendlies after this, which you would normally have for a tournament.

“Two games behind closed doors, so any number of reasons, but we also thought and dissected everything as a group of staff.

“When you have been through some (difficult) spells as a coach, which I have, it helps you because you have real clarity on what needs to happen and how to get through those times.

“Also, I think if we came out of those games wondering why things weren’t going so well, then it would be more of a concern.

“But we knew exactly the reasons and it is a challenge for us as a group of staff and then, in the end, for us to put that challenge to the players to respond.

“We know that the level of performance has to be incredibly high to get what we want to achieve in the World Cup.”

John Stones’ red card against Hungary means he is disqualified for the away match at San Siro.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson joined the squad due to injury to Kalvin Phillips, but Southgate says the plan was always for him to be involved against Germany rather than Italy on Monday.

“Big tests for us, big games to get involved with first of all,” Southgate said of Group A3’s double header.

“We play with two of the strongest footballing nations historically in two of the most iconic stadiums you can play in, so great tests for us.

“We obviously want to improve our performance compared to the summer and leave the pitch feeling good about ourselves to face the World Cup.

“Coming here and playing with Italy in Milan is a great opportunity to do so.”


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