England edge Swiss but fail to impress

Sports | 13 Sep 2018

Gareth Southgate recognizes England have vast room for improvement despite bouncing back from three consecutive defeats as a much-changed team edged past Switzerland 1-0 thanks to Marcus Rashford's winner.

However, England again failed to hit the heights from their World Cup campaign, particularly in a poor first 45 minutes of the friendly match at Leicester that provoked strong words between the players at half-time.

Southgate at least staved off an unwanted record of becoming the first England boss to oversee four straight defeats and further puncture the feel-good factor of a run to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

"We had a tactical problem to sort out and so many lads playing their first 45 minutes of the season," said Southgate of the first-half display.

"It was a tall order to ask them to play against an excellent Switzerland side, they kept the ball well and we had to chase too much. There was plenty of room for improvement."

Vladimir Petkovic's side thrashed Iceland 6-0 to kickstart their Nations League campaign and were the better side for the first 45 minutes at the King Power.

"We could have been two- or three-nil down at half-time," said full-back Danny Rose. "It's great we can all shout at each other and tell each other to improve like we did."

Southgate insisted after being outplayed for the majority of a 2-1 defeat by Spain in his side's inaugural Nations League encounter last weekend that England must persist with his intention to improve on playing out from the back under pressure.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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