England Must ‘Build With More Control’, Says Manager

While England already have one foot in the knockout round of Euro 2024 and can finish no lower than third in their group, manager Gareth Southgate said his team has to “build with more control” to stand a chance against a resilient Slovenia side after two lacklustre games.

England need to avoid defeat in Cologne against Slovenia to guarantee progress and will definitely top the group with a victory. Slovenia will go through to the last 16 if they win.

Supporters and pundits have criticised Southgate’s England side after their 1-0 win against Serbia and their disappointing 1-1 draw with Denmark that saw fans boo them off the pitch. Southgate had some concerning post-game comments, pointing to the players’ conditioning after long and gruellingly seasons.

England manager, Gareth Southgate.

“We are not pressing well enough, with enough intensity,” Southgate said. “We have limitations in how we can do that with the physical condition.”

“We cannot press as high up the pitch as we might have done in the qualifiers, for example. And not keeping the ball well enough. It’s as simple as that. We have to keep the ball better and build with more control. Then we will be defending less and we’ll have more confidence.”

The biggest questions are around what changes Southgate will make after he went with the same lineup in both games for the first time in 16 matches.

“We felt the right thing to do against Denmark was to give confidence to the players we picked in the first game,” he said. “We had won the previous game.”

Southgate took off Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is struggling out of position in midfield, early in the second half against Denmark and forwards Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden followed some 15 minutes later.

If Denmark fail to beat Serbia in the other Group C match, England will qualify regardless of their result against Slovenia.

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