Wednesday, April 17, 2024


HomeInternational CompetitionsUEFA European ChampionshipGareth Southgate expresses why England didn't 'quite click' against Ukraine

Gareth Southgate expresses why England didn’t ‘quite click’ against Ukraine

Gareth Southgate emphasized the importance of England securing a valuable point and the learning experience gained from the Euro 2024 qualifying draw against Ukraine.

While acknowledging that his team didn’t quite perform smoothly in attack, he pointed out that they had won their first four Group C matches on the path to the upcoming tournament in Germany.

This Saturday marked only the second time in 23 attempts that they failed to win a European Championship qualifier. Ukraine, playing away due to the ongoing Russian invasion in their homeland, took the lead through skipper Oleksandr Zinchenko, much to the delight of the partisan crowd in Wroclaw, Poland.

England managed to level the score before half-time with Kyle Walker‘s first international goal, despite it being his 77th appearance for the national team.

“The reality is we’re not going to win every game by fours and sevens as we’ve done in this qualifying campaign,” the England boss said after Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

“That was a really good test – away from home, very passionate atmosphere, quite a few changes forced from the last game.

“For people like Marc Guehi, for instance, his first experience of the game like that with England, which he came through really strongly.

“So, sometimes, especially with attacking play, it doesn’t quite click. We know that the patterns that we worked during the week are what we always do, so it’s not that we approach the game in a different way.

“We tried to refresh things to give them a different sort of problem, but today our forward play bar the goal and probably Bukayo’s effort that hit the bar wasn’t at the level that it has been in our previous games.”

Southgate liked how England controlled the match against Ukraine

England’s closest opportunity to securing a victory came when Bukayo Saka’s attempt was tipped onto the crossbar by Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan. Throughout the night, England often found themselves passive in possession and lacking a cutting edge in their attack.

“I think what I liked was the control of the game that we had when you come into an intense atmosphere like there was,” Southgate said in the bowels of the Tarczynski Arena.

“I thought we played with real composure up until the final third and then I think by the time we scored the goal we’d had over 70 per cent of the ball but that was our first attempt on target.

“So clearly, most of our attacking play wasn’t at the level that we would have hoped it to be. But I thought given the circumstances and the importance of the point in terms of qualification and coming from behind when the crowd are full and the opposition have something to hang on to.

“It’s a very important point for us and we’ve now played the two best ranked teams away from home and we’ve got four points from those two games.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.


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