Southgate ‘doesn’t want to be too harsh’ on England players despite defeat to Hungary

Dan Butterfield
England manager Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate has insisted he won’t be too harsh on his players despite their shock Nations League loss to Hungary.

Hungary last beat England 60 years ago and it was attacking midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai who wrote his name into the history books, firing a well-struck penalty beyond Jordan Pickford in the second half.

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When Southgate’s side took the knee prior to kick off, they were met with a chorus of boos from a crowd of 35,000, 30,00 of which were children.

When asked about the incident, the England boss replied: “The first thing, that (taking the knee) is why we do it, to try to educate people around the world.

“I have no idea why people would choose to boo the gesture. The young people can’t know why they are doing it so they are being influenced by older adults.

“The UEFA decision is for other people to decide. We have made our stand as a team, everyone knows what we believe in and stand for, it is a night where I need to focus on the football.

“When you lose you have to focus on other areas, otherwise I would be taking a lack of responsibility for the result.

“The heat was a factor. That took a lot out of the players. I don’t want to be too harsh on them. These are games we need to learn from.”

England defender Conor Coady added: “We’ve got a massive game coming up on Tuesday. We need to look at this performance and learn from it very quickly.

“I thought we started off quite well. We need to tidy up and bounce back. We need to look at how we performed and how we move forward because these are big games for us.

“We have lost and it’s important we look at ourselves.

“I think we were all a little bit shocked at first. It was one of those where no-one appealed for a penalty.”