England manager Gareth Southgate insists it is ‘difficult to be too critical of the performance’ in their 1-0 defeat to Italy and shrugs off the growing pressure after their Nations League relegation.
The Three Lions are now without a win in five matches and have failed to score from open play in 495 minutes of football.
They are qualified for the 2022 World Cup, but are also in dire shape and have been relegated after finishing bottom of the Nations League group with just two points from five games.
“It’s difficult to be too critical of the performance, as we had more possession, more shots, more shots on target,” insisted the manager in his press conference.
“I personally thought the performance was a step in the right direction, but I completely understand that because of the result, that won’t be the reaction externally.”
Southgate also seemed to be booed by some of the travelling England fans when he went to salute them after the final whistle at San Siro.
“I understand the reaction at the end because of the results we’ve had in this competition. It is an understandable emotional reaction.”
Southgate is also happy to shrug off the growing questions from the English media about whether he should be replaced going into the 2022 World Cup in November.
“There’ll be a lot of noise but that will be around me and that is absolutely fine. It’s my job to take that pressure for them.”
Relegation to the Nations League B is not just a humiliation, but also means England will have a much tougher draw in qualifying for the next European Championship.