Southgate denies split aspect of England performance in ‘very difficult game’

Gareth Southgate clapping during Hungary v England

Gareth Southgate did not notice too much of a difference between the two halves of England’s win over Hungary, despite all the goals coming after the break.

England earned a 4-0 win in Budapest thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice. It was a positive return to international action for the side that lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties. With their focus already on the next tournament, the 2022 World Cup, they preserved their 100 percent record in this qualifying campaign.

It certainly seemed to be a game of two halves. No shots on target were recorded by either side in the opening 45 minutes. But England turned on the style after the interval, controlling proceedings to earn their four-goal haul.

But manager Southgate felt the performances in either half were similar, praising how his side used the ball.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I was very pleased with the first half, we were in total control of the game, controlled possession and were playing the right types of passes, just not connecting in that final third.

“We had so much of the ball, we knew they would tire. We had great chances to score more goals.

“The first couple of goals came from turnovers and quick counter-attacks. We used the ball well all night.

“There is not much between the two halves. They were open and the goals came. We have made a very difficult game look quite comfortable.”

Southgate reflects on hostile environment

Unfortunately, the game was marred by the booing of England players taking the knee, while there were allegations of racist abuse from the stands.

Southgate reflected on how England approached what they predicted would be a hostile environment.

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He said: “It was definitely an incredible atmosphere and in a football sense the players kept the crowd quiet.

“I have heard reports of racism and we were not aware of that during the game. I am not sure we were particularly sensible celebrating right in front of their fans with the flare but the racism is the key part.

“We try to take a right stand. We knew taking the knee would get an adverse reaction and anything of that nature is unacceptable.”

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