Gareth Southgate ‘understands’ boos but insists England performance was ‘step in the right direction’ despite Italy defeat


    England manager Gareth Southgate
    Southgate approached the travelling England fans at full-time (Picture: Getty)

    Gareth Southgate says he ‘understands’ the reaction of England fans after being booed following his side’s defeat in Italy.

    The Three Lions fell to a 1-0 loss at the San Siro on Friday night, a result that relegated them from their Nations League group.

    More worryingly, however, it extended a dismal run of form with no wins in their last five games with the World Cup in Qatar now looming large.

    After the final whistle, Southgate approached the away end to applaud England’s travelling support but was greeted by boos after a frustrating evening for those who had made the journey.

    ‘It’s really difficult to pinpoint why we are not scoring. I think we are getting into the right areas,’ Southgate said. ‘We had the moments where we would have the pass but we just didn’t deliver that final piece of quality tonight.

    ‘I understand the reaction at the end because that’s the results we have had in this competition. It’s an understandable emotional reaction.’

    Giacomo Raspadori’s 68th minute strike was the difference on the night with England failing to fashion a real chance on goal of note.

    England fans
    England’s travelling support was not impressed (Picture: Getty)

    England have now gone three games without a goal for the first time since November 2000 and are on a run of 495 minutes without a goal in open play since Raheem Sterling netted against the Ivory Coast in March.

    Despite another toothless performance, Southgate was encouraged by the display and described it as ‘a step in the right direction’.

    ‘It’s difficult for me to be too critical of the performance. We had more possession, more shots, more shots on target,’ he said.

    ‘For large parts of the game we played very well. We didn’t deal with the decisive moment defensively. We had moments where we had the chance to be decisive in their final third which our quality wasn’t quite right.

    ‘It’s a spell where ultimately results are going to be the thing that everyone reacts to but I thought there were a lot of positives for us as a team tonight.

    ‘Lots of good individual performances. I personally thought the performance is a step in the right direction. I completely understand because of the result that is not going to be the reaction.’

    MORE : Joe Cole questions ‘unacceptable’ England performances against Italy after naming Jude Bellingham best player

    MORE : ‘He knows what we think of him’ – Gareth Southgate hits out at ‘big agenda’ against Harry Maguire following England inclusion

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