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Euro 2024: ‘We understand fans’ frustrations’ – Southgate

England boss admits they have work to do to secure top spot in Group C

England football manager Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate admits England have ‘a huge amount of work to do’ to and says fans will be ‘rightly disappointed’ with their performances.

England failed to get out of third gear in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Serbia and were stuck in second for much of the 1-1 draw with Denmark in Frankfurt which saw Southgate’s side miss the chance to seal top-spot in Group C and a place in the Round of 16.

Southgate told BBC Sport: “Clearly that was not as good as we’d have hoped. At the moment we’re not using the ball well enough and if you do that you are going to suffer at times as we have tonight. We know there’s another level that we have got to find.”

Southgate flatly denied he had instructed his players to drop deeper after going ahead, something which has been picked up on by fans and pundits’ alike.

“We’ve definitely got to put pressure on teams better than we have done in these two matches,” he said. “That’s been part of the problem, but not keeping the ball has also been a big part of the problem.”

Southgate said Trent Alexander-Arnold had been replaced by Conor Gallagher early in the second half to add energy to midfield and ‘to press better.’

Southgate added: “(Trent) has had some moments where he delivered what we thought he would – it is an experiment. We don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Philips, but we are trying some different things – at the moment we are not flowing as we’d like, that’s for sure.”

Skipper Harry Kane was withdrawn with more than 20 minutes left and Southgate explained: “We needed energy. We’ve had two games and a short turnaround. We needed fresh legs and energy to press.

“Harry has only had one 90 minutes in over a month. So that was the decision we took.”

England could potentially top Group C with a draw against Slovenia on Tuesday evening in Cologne, but a win would make sure of finishing first and avoiding Germany in the next phase.

“There’s a huge amount of work to do,” Southgate admitted. “That’s evident from the two performances we have given.

“We have to say tight. We understand that people will be disappointed with the performances, and rightly so, and we have got to make them better.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.