Gareth Southgate responded to England fans clamoring for his job after the 4-0 defeat to Hungary, telling talkSPORT: “It’s amazing how quickly things can go downhill.”
England suffered their heaviest home defeat since 1928 against the world’s 40th-ranked side, starting their 2022/23 Nations League campaign without a win in four.
Draws against Italy and Germany ended in defeats against Hungary, leading to boos for the England boss at Molineux as well as chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing ‘ and ‘sacked in the morning’.
Southgate was asked about the crowd criticism by talkSPORT’s Faye Carruthers, and said it’s the kind of thing that pushes a manager to their limits.
“It’s not a pleasant experience,” he said. “It’s a situation that all my predecessors have experienced.
“But I’ve had some incredible nights with England, and that’s the reality of football. You’re going to have some particularly painful nights that could stretch you as a human being to the limit, and tonight in was a.
“It’s amazing how quickly things can go downhill in terms of support and feel, but I’ve been in football for 30 years or more and that’s the nature of football.
“I’ve seen it with English teams in the past and English managers in the past. It’s emotional for everyone. I totally understand that and it’s my responsibility at the end for the results.
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Prior to this run though, England were in their first major final since 1966 when they lost to Italy at Euro 2020, and Southgate doesn’t think it’s fair to judge this run of results.
He said: “At the end of the day, I picked teams to try to navigate those four games, and in the two games with Hungary those teams weren’t strong enough to get results.
“It put a lot of pressure on some young players when we went behind, it was a bit too much for us as a group.
“At half-time we tried to change the system to make us more attacking, but that made us a bit vulnerable, and the second goal you could see sapped the team’s confidence a lot.
“In the end, we are a bit in tatters because we have too many attackers on the pitch, but that is my responsibility. And I told the players that they gave their all, that they were in the spotlight throughout this period.
“They have to go get their break now. They need this. They are ready for it. And you know, it’s my responsibility to accept the criticism that comes.
On that review, Southgate added: “I think tonight needs time for everyone to reflect and reflect very clearly because I think the period of matches we’ve had, we’re on trial is truly remarkable.
“The two Nations League competitions we’ve had have been the competitions that put the pressure on, it’s never been a competition in the past.
“The Europeans and Worlds have been what you prepare for in those two competitions, we’ve come a long way from having our full squads to choose from.
“So if we were at full strength for those four games and the results had been like they were in the two games against Hungary, then I think that’s another matter, but I don’t think we were at full power.. I felt that was the right thing.
“We have a core of players who have had an incredible workload throughout the season. We are going to a World Cup in winter, which will lengthen the season next year.
“I tried to balance all those things, but in terms of results, we didn’t have them. And I have to accept the criticisms that come with it.
Southgate’s tenure began with the senior team in 2016, and his first tournament, the 2018 World Cup, brought their first semi-final since England won the tournament in 1966.
Following the near miss, the 51-year-old Lions went further at Euro 2020, but a penalty defeat to Italy robbed the country of a second major trophy.
Southgate was keen to highlight the success, compared to a lesser Nations League tournament, which quickly became a burden on his side.
He explained: “In the two tournaments we’ve had, we’ve shown this group of players to be the best for 50 years and I think I’ve led that, I think we’ve put those things in place.
“This competition was an Achilles heel, and I knew it would be a tough time because I knew we weren’t going to be able to get all of our best players into it.
“I didn’t expect what happened tonight and to the extreme, but when it’s clear, when now maybe we don’t have the depth to be able to get into games like that, as excellent as some of our young players are, they need that experience around them and that balance that I didn’t find tonight in terms of selection.
“As a group of staff, we have to review this whole camp. And it is clear that many things need to be improved.
“We have a period where we have to go to Qatar for workshops and things like that and then we will prepare for September and the World Cup.
“We don’t really stop for too long, but I think it’s a period where we have to look very closely obviously at what happened tonight. It’s a painful experience. We have to take it on the chin. .
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