Adam Lallana was pleased with England’s tactical switch to a back three against Germany, despite defeat in Dortmund.
Gareth Southgate unveiled a new system in his first game since taking charge on a permanent basis, echoing a set-up that has become vogue in the Premier League.
The alterations at the back saw Lallana pushed up in support of Jamie Vardy and a 1-0 defeat would have looked different had his first-half solo effort not come back off the post.
The Three Lions last used a three-man defence 11 years ago when Steve McClaren’s side were beaten 2-0 by Croatia and had just one full day at St George’s Park to prepare on this occasion.
The signs were certainly encouraging until Lukas Podolski marked his farewell appearance with a stunner from 25 yards to seal victory for the hosts, and Lallana praised the tactical switch.
“Credit to the boss. He was obviously the one who wanted us to play that way – he felt we had the personnel to fit in and it worked,” said the Liverpool man.
“A lot of the lads are playing three at the back at their clubs and in the short time we had to work on it, he utilised the time really well so we had a good few sessions to work on it.
— England (@England) March 22, 2017
“It could possibly be the way forward. Football evolves and goes around in circles but I think the way that we adapted, considering we didn’t have long, worked well.”
Another change is likely for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, with extra protection at the back unlikely to be a priority.
Instead, finding a more reliable cutting edge is back on the agenda after several chances came and went without getting past the impressive Marc-Andre ter Steven.
“We will look at it and the areas we need to improve on ahead of what is the most important match,” added Lallana.
“We are going to move on but we have to make sure we learn from last night. Big moments in the game, we have to capitalise on.
“We came in at half-time and know we had three of the best chances of the half – I had one, Dele (Alli) had one and Keano (Michael Keane) had an effort that went over.
“The result seems a bit harsh but it still doesn’t cover up the disappointment.”