England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate Image Credit: AFP

Pristina: After a qualifying campaign that produced 37 goals in eight games and six conceded, it would seem harsh to criticise England but manager Gareth Southgate recognises that defensive blips could cost his team dear at the Euro 2020 finals.

Captain Harry Kane scored a remarkable 12th goal of the campaign as England beat Kosovo 4-0 on Sunday to secure one of the top six seeded berths for the tournament. Southgate is awash with attacking options but he will be paying much more attention to the other side of things after Kosovo were gifted a number of opportunities through slack marking or poor organisation.

“We needed a tighter game and a challenge and I’m happy we got that,” said Southgate. “We had to sustain spells of pressure and gave them chances — on another night that would be a problem. Set plays in particular are something we need to go away and look at not that we’ve conceded — but there are too many people free in the box and chances given away. “We are always looking to improve, we know there is a bit of work to do but I can’t fault the players through this campaign, they’ve been absolutely ruthless.”