Czech Republic 2-1 England: Gareth Southgate accepts responsibility for loss

Czech Republic 2-1 England: Gareth Southgate accepts responsibility for loss

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Manager Gareth Southgate says he has to “accept responsibility” for England’s first qualifying loss in 10 years, ending a run of 43 unbeaten games.

A poor showing from the Three Lions saw them beaten 2-1 by the Czech Republic in the qualifiers for Euro 2020.

England last lost a Euro or World Cup qualifier in October 2009 when they were beaten 1-0 by Ukraine.

“Clearly that was not a night that we wanted to be a part of in terms of that record,” said Southgate.

“We didn’t play well enough, simple as that. We conceded possession of the ball too cheaply. Particularly in the first half we didn’t create enough chances.

“Second half we had some good chances that we didn’t take and throughout the night we were too open out of possession. Some of that was because of giving the ball away.

“And in terms of a wake-up call, I think we’ve had a lot of plaudits.

“We’ve always maintained that there’s a lot of work to be done to be a really top team.”

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Harry Kane’s penalty after five minutes gave England the perfect start but they fail to build on it as goals from Jakub Brabec and debutant Zdenek Ondrasek turned the game around for the Czechs.

Southgate initially deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Chelsea’s Mason Mount given a first start in the number 10 role, but it is not a system the national side have used since playing Slovenia in 2017.

With the midfield overrun in the opening period, it was changed back to the usual 4-3-3 setting, but Everton defender Michael Keane and Tottenham full-back Danny Rose particularly struggled.

Southgate added: “Look, I always have to accept responsibility. We tried something to make ourselves a bit more solid without the ball, and that didn’t happen.

“We didn’t look any more solid, and we were poor at using the ball in the first half. That said, at 1-1, at half time, we were able to change that. I think we were better in the second half and we created chances to win the game.

“In terms of the players, I think there are players who are not playing well for their clubs, but that is the situation we are in at the moment, certainly in a couple of positions.

“We collectively have to accept the result, but of course, as the manager, then I have got to accept that as well, absolutely.”

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England missed the chance to qualify this time but can still progress on Monday if they beat Bulgaria and Kosovo do not beat Montenegro.

Captain Kane said there were “no excuses” and the side have to “do better”.

“Every away game in Europe is difficult,” said the Tottenham striker. “They had the crowd behind them, maybe the pitch isn’t as great and as easy to play on.

“It is a bit of a wake-up call, of course we are still in a good position so there is no need to panic.

“We obviously have to win the game on Monday but, for sure, we have still got stuff to work on.”

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