Raheem Sterling says there is “no panic” after England’s 4-0 humbling by Hungary and says Gareth Southgate cannot be judged on the Nations League results.
Some of the 28,000 crowd at Molineux were calling for the head of Southgate after Hungary completed a quick-fire double in Nations League Group C.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Three Lions, who had John Stones sent off late on.
It was England’s heaviest home defeat since 1928 and leaves them bottom of their group without scoring a goal in open in play in the four matches.
Chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” were heard at Wolves as Southgate saw another experiment fail.
Sterling says the result was a shock, but believes it is crazy to judge Southgate on four games in the Nations League.
“No one was expecting it,” Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think it’s been a disappointed camp overall in a sense that there’s been games that we should have won.
“But football’s cruel sometimes and we’ll take this one on the chin, recover well and get ready for the campaign in September.
“Of course it’s disappointing, of course there’s going to be question marks, of course there’s going to be doubts.
“But I’m more than confident in the group that we have. It’s solely down to us as players.
“We put good enough sides on each and every match that we’ve played and we just haven’t got the results. We haven’t been competitive enough, we haven’t been ruthless enough – myself also.
“So, it’s one that we just look at ourselves as a collective and I know once we have that well-deserved break that we need and we come back, we’ll be ready again.”
Sterling: ‘He has led us incredibly well’
Put to Sterling that Southgate has been a very good England manager to him and many of the players, the forward interjected: “And the country.
“I keep saying after these last couple of games, you can’t be judged on that.
“If you look at the steps that he’s made over the last couple of tournaments, semi-final and a final, I think a Nations League couple of bad results is not something that we can judge him on.
“He’s led us incredibly well. And he’s showed us the way, he’s helped us mature from young men to senior pros, a lot of us in the dressing room.
“He’s doing that now with a lot of the young lads and he’s trying to make sure that everyone’s got enough experience for when we do hit the big time that we’re all ready.”
Sterling: Players should be responsible
Given the Molineux drubbing that had just unfolded, substitute Sterling struck a calm and balanced reaction.
“Keep calm of course,” the forward said. “As I keep saying, it’s going to be alarm bells ringing because of the opposition we played today.
“We should take the responsibility because we’re players that are playing in the biggest competition and this is a game today that we should win without a doubt.
“This is down to the players to take this one on the chin. Assess ourselves and come back and make sure we do the business in September and I’ve got the utmost confidence in the boys to do that.”
Sterling believes shutting off for a week after the club season before returning to England duty was difficult.
“I think it’s one that there’s no panic for me,” Sterling added. “I think of course, yes, it’s really difficult to take that result.
“Of course it’s a game that we should win, but it’s been a long old season and, again, we’ll go away, readjust ourselves and come back even better.”