Gareth Southgate expects Hungary’s heavy defeat spurs England in Qatar

Gareth Southgate expects Hungary’s heavy defeat spurs England in Qatar

Gareth Southgate is confident that England’s humiliation at Hungary’s hands will help fuel their winter World Cup campaign rather than leaving harmful scars.

The glow of last summer’s unforgettable run to the Euro 2020 final is gone, with fans turning on the Three Lions boss and his players just five months away from Qatar.

“You don’t know what you’re doing” was echoed in Molineux as Hungary inflicted a 4-0 defeat on Tuesday night – England’s biggest home defeat since 1928.

Southgate is in the eye of the storm after the “toughest night” of his nearly six years in charge, which ended a four-game winless run of the Nations League in 11 days.

Gareth Southgate

England was defeated by Hungary (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’ve been in football for 35 years and I’ve seen how it works,” he said. “I’m romantic in one sense, but not in many others.

“I know how it works and I know how quickly things can change, and I know how quickly opinions change.

“You sure remember the messages you get tonight more than the ones when things are going well, no doubt, and you’ll never forget the rough nights and how it felt.

“And, you know, making sure you record where people were with and against you on those nights, but you don’t carry it with you like a scar. hardens you.

“It gives determination and I’ve had many of those experiences in my career as a player and as a coach.

“It’s unrealistic to spend six years as England manager and not have something similar to tonight happen probably long before that.”

Southgate knows that scrutiny and pressure is an integral part of what used to be known as “the impossible job”, with the England manager quickly pointing to the criticism his predecessors dealt with.

Back then, the Three Lions jersey weighed heavily on players and Southgate hopes that group will not feel inhibited in representing their country.

“This group of players has given the best results in 50 years,” he said. “This is a period in English football that everyone should be very happy about.

“It’s important that they stay with a group of young players because they need it, they need support. They need it all the time.

“I think you saw the anxiety start to creep in a little tonight. But also, you know, that’s the reality of professional football.

“It’s not all sweetness and light, and they need to use these experiences to feed and strengthen themselves. And that will help them in the long run.”

Southgate will certainly use the criticism that followed Hungary’s defeats during June’s winless campaign to get him to learn the hard way how difficult life with England can be.

The former centre-back’s lack of a key penalty in the Euro 96 semi-final shaped him and perhaps explains why he seemed able to compartmentalize and keep his cool after a defeat that would leave many scrambling for answers.

  • Hungary 1-0 England

  • Germany 1-1 England

  • England 0-0 Italy

  • England 0-4 Hungary

“(defeat to Hungary) would make Qatar sweeter? Well, no,” he said. “Successful in Qatar would be sweet no matter what, so of course I will use that as fuel.

“When you have disappointment and you read negativity, of course you want to fight and prove people wrong, but I’ve done it all my life, so there’s no extra incentive because of a night like this.

“I know nights like this can happen. They are not pleasant. They are not pleasant. I’ve seen this with others. But these are the realities of football.”

Southgate will be in touch with their players in the coming days as they look into things with the World Cup approaching.

The result hurts someone who joined the Football Association in the hope of “trying to improve English football” and will spend the new weeks poring over Nations League games in a bid to do that.

Harry Kane

England scored one goal in four games (Nick Potts/PA)

“I’m going to take a break for a few weeks before next season starts because otherwise when we get further into the year you’ll be running empty,” Southgate added.

“This was almost like a time period of a group stage in Qatar and the first knockout game.

“I’ll need to review the camps. I have a few weeks before I leave. We always put that time in to review the fields, review your games. What are the learnings? What do we need to take forward?

“This is what we’ve always done, whether we’ve done it well or badly, and we’re going to continue with that process.”

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