England national team manager Gareth Southgate has acknowledged the superiority of a highly-motivated and tactical Czech team but promised better performance in Bulgaria.
Talking to newsmen about England’s disappointing Czech loss, Southgate said The Three Lions are far from being a “really top team.”
‘It was a terrible night for every one of us…Not a night we wanted to be part of—for records’ sake,’ Southgate said.
‘We didn’t show class. Our efforts weren’t enough and it’s as simple as that…We lost possession of the ball so easily and failed to create or utilize chances in the first half.’
The coach continued, ‘In the second half, we had some good chances that were thrown away…It was one of those nights that everything was wrong.’
It was England’s first qualification defeat for Euro 2020 and the first time they lost a qualifier since 2009 in Ukraine. The loss against Czech Republic was heart-breaking for many English fans who expected easy victory and an early slot for the European tournament, considering the crop of players in their national team.
Unfortunately, the hosts capitalized on England’s loss of concentration and poor display to end a 43-match unbeaten run in both World Cup and Euro qualifying matches.
Tottenham Hotspur and England ace, Harry Kane, converted a penalty in the 45th minute but the effort was soon trashed when Jakub Brabec and Zdenek Ondrasek scored two goals to grab a shocking 2-1 victory for Czech Republic.
England will face Bulgaria for another Group A fixture and Southgate believes The Three Lions have another chance to prove themselves against critics.
Talking about the performance against Czech Republic—which left him frustrated and sad, Southgate said he had expected a repeat of their 5-0 win against the Czechs in March. The Three Lions, however, showed signs of weakness in their defence line during last month’s 5-3 win against poorly-rated Kosovo.
‘This time, it’s a case of lacking spark in our attack line,’ the England boss said of their performance against Czech Republic.
He continued, ‘No matter how the match is analysed, I think we didn’t use the ball well enough. This loss is a wake-up call for all of us and I think we’ve had a lot of criticisms.
‘We all know there’s always so much to be done for us to remain relevant in global football. We have to be better than we were …Tonight was a clear evidence of that.
‘We just need to react rightly by regrouping in a couple of days. We certainly have to reward our supporters with a better performance in our next game even though we have to accept tonight’s defeat and congratulate the Czechs.’