Gareth Southgate says he told his England players that he was responsible for his side’s horrendous international break, which saw them fail to win in 4 matches against Hungary (twice), Germany and Italy. The Three Lions were on the receiving end of a sickening reality check just five months away from the World Cup in Qatar and so they now only have two matches together to place things right before they head off to the tournament.
They were second best in nearly every department as Hungary ran riot within the closing stages of their incredible 4-0 win at Molineux to crank up the pressure on Southgate.
But he was comfortable to shoulder the blame for England’s worst defeat since 1928 – something he told his players.
He told Channel 4: “We picked a young team with energy, when the sport began to go against them, it began to look that way. That is my responsibility ultimately.
“I felt at half-time we wanted to go for it, we made changes that gave us more of an attacking impetus but then we were a bit more open as well at the tip we were pushing that we left ourselves wide open.
“I’ve just said to the players there that across the 4 matches, that is my responsibility. I attempted to balance latest players and resting players.
“But ultimately, the teams I’ve chosen within the two Hungary games have not been strong enough to get the result.”
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Southgate believes there are lessons to be learned from the underwhelming camp, which has seen him solid an eye fixed over a variety of England’s kids.
He added: “In actual fact, we have seen you’ve to be at full strength. This was a crucial experience for plenty of young guys when it comes to games, we have learned so much within the Germany and Italy games and Hungary are a superb side.
“I feel I’ve given them an excessive amount of to do tonight ultimately, I understand the response within the stadium.
“Ultimately that is about winning games with England and tonight was the type of night that a whole lot of my predecessors have had and have experienced.
“I’m not going to say it doesn’t hurt but it’s extremely clear to me what we have tried to do across these 4 matches. The irony might be the 2 Nations League campaigns are those which have heaped negativity and pressure onto us and you would not normally have that as an England manager.
“It’s my job to guard the players, they have been exceptional of their attitude, they’ve never stopped and the result’s my responsibility.
“It’s challenging to say after we’ve had the result we have had tonight but we wanted to offer people some experience.
“That wasn’t a terrific experience to undergo but we have had some unbelievable nights over the previous couple of years and that is the truth of football.”
England were 1-0 down inside 16 minutes when Roland Sallai finished to place the visitors in front.
He would then double his tally for the evening with 20 minutes to play when he fired a low, driven shot through Aaron Ramsdale.
Zsolt Nagy then added gloss to the scoreline when he rifled home from outside of the box.
Things would then get even worse when John Stones was handed his marching orders after being shown a red card.
Nevertheless, Hungary were about to perform even further humiliation when Daniel Gazdag got in on the act, clipping the ball over the advancing Ramsdale.