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Published 04 June 2022 5 min read

Gareth Southgate: 'The players are bitterly disappointed'

Written by:

Frank Smith

England boss and Conor Coady react to England's defeat to Hungary in their UEFA Nations League opener

Gareth Southgate acknowledged his England side were not incisive enough during their 1-0 defeat in Hungary.

The game in Budapest saw the Three Lions kick off their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League campaign with a disappointing loss, as a controversial penalty saw Dominik Szoboszlai settle the contest midway through the second half.

The defeat was England’s first, during regular time, in 23 matches in all competitions but that was little consolation to a disappointed Southgate. 

He said: "I don't think we did enough to win the game, a draw would have been a fair outcome. We had enough possession but we weren't incisive in and around the box, didn't create too many clear-cut chances, although we had some dangerous possessions towards the end of the game. 

“The actual result hinges on a decision which I think is harsh but wasn't going to be overturned. Away from home sometimes you're going to get those calls.”

When former England striker Michael Owen put it to Southgate that the players looked tired, the England boss replied: "It has [been a long season] but I haven't seen that in the training sessions. The heat was a factor, definitely, and that took a lot out of the players, so that's why we refreshed the team a little bit earlier than we might do normally. 

“That balance of finding out about new things and the consistent more regular team, I've got to look at whether I got that balance quite right.”

Conor Coady does well to clear off the line
Conor Coady does well to clear off the line

He continued: "I don't want to be too harsh on them because these are games we need to learn from. They're bitterly disappointed because we want to keep winning matches. 

“If we're going to be a team right at the top tier of world football we've got to come here and win. 

“We've got huge disappointment in terms of that but as a coach you've got to think about what we take from the game and what we learn from it.”

Next up for England is another trip in the UEFA Nations League, this time to Germany on Tuesday night.

And centre back Conor Coady is determined to make amends at the Allianz Arena.

He said: "I'm massively disappointed, it's not how we wanted to start this competition. It's something we need to look at and get right on Tuesday because we've got a massive game. We need to learn very quickly. 

“They're a good side, they're organised, you can see why they've got results but we wanted to come here and win. 

“We started well but they grew into the game, had a couple of chances on the counter-attack and we need to tidy up on those sorts of things. 

“It's important we bounce back and there's no better way to bounce back than Tuesday.”

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