Gareth Southgate has launched a staunch defence of his England reign and insisted he is the right man to lead the country at the World Cup.
Southgate faced the first crisis of his six-year reign on Tuesday, when a 4-0 home defeat to Hungary left England bottom of their Nations League group and had an angry crowd at Molineux calling for him to leave.
England only have two games left before the World Cup starts – away to Italy and at home to Germany in September – and while Southgate admits the pain of the worst result at home since 1928 will linger for some time, he has not lost faith in his ability.
Gareth Southgate has defended his England reign after Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat by Hungary
Southgate said: ‘I’m absolutely clear on why we ended up with the result we did. The pressure we’ve had as an England management team has come through the Nations League fixtures, like last time when we were managing minutes like a pre-season.
‘This time where we were having to do similar. When we’ve had our full team, we’ve had historic results. We haven’t had our full team. I’ve got evidence of the results we’ve had and the performances we’ve had and the way we’ve gone about those.
‘I’m actually very clear. If I was a younger manager, I might be thinking: “Hang on a minute, what’s gone wrong? How did that happen?” Well, I’m really clear on all of those things – and what would need to be right to make sure that nights like tonight don’t happen again.’
He added: ‘I know how quickly things can change. And I know how quickly opinion changes. You will never forget the tough nights and how it felt. But you don’t carry it with you as a scar. It hardens you.’
England were hammered and there are plenty of questions ahead of the World Cup