England boss Gareth Southgate expressed concern over some of the defensive mistakes that were made by his side in the game against Kosovo in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. He painfully admitted before the game that the opponents were far better than their current ranking of 120th in football and could provide the toughest group stage test yet for the Three Lions.
Regardless, England continued their smooth run for a place in the Euro 2020 competition with a 5:3 win on the night in what was a pulsating encounter that gave Southgate more to think about.
A brace from Jadon Sancho alongside goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and an own goal from Mergim Vojvoda completed the 5 goals for Southgate’s men in an enthralling first half.
This was after Valon Berisha had capitalized on a Michael Keane error to open the scoring for the visitors in the first minute. Berisha got a second for Kosovo in the second half before Harry Maguire made schoolboy errors by gifting a penalty which Vedat Muriqi put away for the visitors. Meanwhile, Harry Kane missed a penalty on the night for the Three Lions.
Speaking after the game, Southgate who was critical of some individual performances said: “Well, bizarre really,”
“The outstanding features and the poor features are apparent to everybody, so we don’t need to get the video out and go back through it.
“Poor individual mistakes, a poor start to the game. The small period after half-time: ridiculous mistakes, poor decisions, lack of covering back.”
When asked of the individual mistakes were down to a loss of concentration and not fundamental loopholes, he said:
“I think that is something that we have to consider over a period of time because there were obviously mistakes that were concerning, really.
“Whether it was the intensity of the game, whether it was the pressure, I don’t know. We’ve got to reflect on that, but they were such basic errors, really, that you have to learn from.”
Meanwhile, his attackers were ruthless on the night as they came up with the goods, and this shows why the England boss considers his forwards among the best in world football presently.
“Raheem, Jadon and Harry were outstanding,” he said. “I mean Raheem’s two performances have been of the highest level.
“I think he’s been almost unstoppable, his awareness of where defenders were, his ability to ride challenges, his vision and desire to get in on goal, and unselfish play as well, so I couldn’t speak highly enough of the way he played.
“You know we were talking about the three on Saturday, Jadon’s performance was at that level as well.
“He worked really hard for the team without the ball and showed the ability he has to go past people, to be calm in tight areas. So, that part of our game was absolutely outstanding.”