Southgate: ‘Much improved’ England have ‘so many things coming together’ after amazing Slovenia point

Jason Soutar
England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Phil Foden
England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Phil Foden.

Gareth Southgate says England were “much improved with the ball” against Slovenia and insists “there are lots of things to build on from” the 0-0 draw.

England once again failed to impress at Euro 2024, securing top spot in Group C with a goalless draw against Slovenia, though they had Denmark to thank after they failed to beat Serbia.

Southgate is under a severe amount of pressure with the Three Lions’ immensely talented squad struggling to shine in Germany.

Speaking after the match, Southgate explained how England had improved on their 1-1 draw against Denmark on matchday two.

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“I thought we were much improved with the ball,” he said. “We have created some good openings and at the moment it is hard work for us.

“We are not quite getting that break in front of goal. I think the players who came on did well. I understand the reactions but it is a tough environment

“We tried to win the game by the changes we made. We put attacking players on the pitch.”

Southgate’s only change from the draw vs Denmark was to bring in Conor Gallagher for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the middle of the pitch.

“Tonight we went with Conor who presses well and we did that better,” he said during his post-match evaluation.

“Then we felt Kobbie Mainoo’s control of the ball would help us. I don’t think we were going to go from where we were to winning three or four nil.”

With England on a favourable side of the knockout draw, Southgate said: “We have got to play well and whoever we play is going to be a really tough game. We shouldn’t be seduced by which half of the draw.

“So many things are starting to come together. We had a lot of issues before the tournament. I think the way the defence has played has been a huge positive and something to build on. We created chances but we just have to convert those chances.”

Cole Palmer played his first minutes of the tournament and Southgate praised the Chelsea star’s impact from the bench.

“He did very good,” Southgate added. “He finds space well and he makes chances and we were backing him to score at the end. They are young players and we are blooding them in a difficult environment.

“They had a good impact for us and did good things for us. Anthony Gordon, Cole Palmer, Kobbie Mainoo, it was a really good move. We have to build on that. There were a lot of things to build on from tonight.”

Also speaking after the draw, centre-back John Stones said that England achieved their “objective” by topping their group.

He said: “The objective was to top the group and we have done that – it is not always going to be an easy road. It is not going to be easy when we have a target on our back to beat us.

“I thought there was a lot of improvement from the other two games, we found people in the pockets and created more chances – another step in the right direction.

“I can get the fans frustration not taking chances, but that is football – it is never an easy game.”

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Bad that, wasn’t it? Better than Denmark, but still awful. Join the debate here.

Stones added that the attacking substitutions helped England: “100% they made a great impact today and credit to them. It is not easy coming away and not getting as much game-time as they want – it’s a great spirit around us.

“We focus on us and what we can control.”

He continued: “I am a big believer in beating whoever is in front of us. We need to step-up when it counts and we will work hard on that in training.”

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