London: England must tighten up at the back by learning from “ridiculous mistakes” during their 5-3 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo on Tuesday, manager Gareth Southgate has said.
Kosovo took the lead after 35 seconds following a mistake by defender Michael Keane and, although England responded with five goals in the first half, they endured a nervy finish to the game after conceding twice in the second half.
Goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and a brace for Jadon Sancho highlighted England’s attacking might but Southgate was less than pleased with his backline.
“It was bizarre. The outstanding features and poor features are apparent to everybody,” Southgate said.
“Poor individual mistakes, a poor start. I like the way we showed the composure to recover from that initial mistake and our use of the ball throughout the first half was excellent.
“The small period after half-time: ridiculous mistakes, poor decisions, lack of covering back. We made the game uncomfortable for ourselves. There were mistakes that were concerning ... they were such basic errors ... that you have to learn from.”
England lead Group A with 12 points and can qualify for the finals of the tournament with a win away to the Czech Republic in their next game on October 11.
Portugal also scored five goals, while France scored three as they overcame Andorra and Lithuania respectively.
Captain Ronaldo, making his 160th international appearance, scored four as Portugal won 5-1 in Vilnius and strengthened their position in Group B after a sluggish start. It took the five-time Golden Ball winner’s international tally to a whopping 93.
For Ronaldo it was a second hat-trick in three internationals. The victory over Lithuania, 130th in the world rankings, kept brought Portugal five points behind Ukraine at the top of Group B, with a game in hand.
Vytautas Andriuskevicius scored the hosts’ only goal before William Carvalho added a fifth for the reigning champions at the end.
Serbia beat Luxembourg 3-1, as Aleksandar Mitrovic netted twice, to solidify their grasp on third place. They are a point behind Portugal.
In Paris, the world champions made light work of beating 136-ranked Andorra 3-0. It was Les Bleus’ 100th match at the Stade de France.
Kingsley Coman, Clement Lenglet, with his first on the international goal, and Wissam Ben Yedder clinched three points to keep France locked with Turkey at the summit of Group H.
The Turks beat Moldova with ease in a 4-0 victory in Chisinau. But Iceland, who had been level with the top two suffered a blow as they lost 4-2 in Albania to drop three points behind the top two.
Montenegro 0 Czech Republic 3
England 5 Kosovo 3
Luxembourg 1 Serbia 3
Lithuania 1 Portugal 5
Moldova 0 Turkey 4
France 3 Andorra 0
Albania 4 Iceland 2