Southgate: Defeat shows England have a lot to work on

Date published: Wednesday 14th June 2017 8:09

Gareth Southgate has a better idea of the task facing England after his side deservedly lost to France.

A draining season came to a surprisingly entertaining end in Paris, where captain Harry Kane netted an early opener at the end of a fluid Three Lions move.

However, Didier Deschamps’ thrilling young side turned things around before the break thanks to Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe, then made light of the controversy and confusion that followed the first use of a video assistant referee in an England match.

Raphael Varane was sent off before a penalty was fired home by Kane, with Les Bleus rallying as Ousmane Dembele capped a fine display by wrapping up a 3-2 victory that left Southgate frustrated.

“We should have got a result,” the England manager said.

“In the space of 90 minutes we saw the things we’re very good at – with the ball we caused a lot of problems, created good openings, took our first goal very well.

“And equally we saw the things that have to get better – defending as a team and managing the game, in particular the period once France had gone down to 10 men.

“I thought we looked more anxious while they went to 10 and they stepped up a level. We just didn’t manage that period of the game as well as we need to.

“I thought part of that was because we were tired, I think we put a huge amount into the game to try and press and to deal with the physical capabilities France had – and it was a problem for us all night, their pace and their athleticism.”

England somehow managed to tail off despite playing the majority of the second half with a man advantage after Varane brought down Dele Alli in the box.

Confusion reigned for a minute inside the Stade de France as referee Davide Massa waited to hear from the video assistant team of Marco Guida and Massimiliano Irrati.

The decision led to on-field bemusement that was echoed by the home support, highlighting some of the issues that need ironing out in the system being trialled by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

“I’ve not seen it again, but from my initial view I thought it was the right call,” Southgate said.

“It looked from where we were a clear penalty and therefore a sending-off, but if you’re saying otherwise then I don’t know, I’d need to see it again.

“I assume the referee wanted to make sure and if he’s got that technology to do that, then it’s a sensible decision.

“But clearly even with video not every decision will be 100 (per cent) – you won’t get every single decision right. There’ll still be an element of one person’s judgement within that.”

Deschamps said the sending-off was the “disaster scenario” for France, but his team’s fantastic display meant it did not matter.

“It was complicated by the sending-off and the penalty,” the French coach said.

“It was tricky and seemed quite harsh, but it was less significant because we won the game 3-2.”

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