Gareth Southgate fires warning as England wobble in Euro 2020 qualifying 

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‘To be a really top team, we’re still some way from that’: Gareth Southgate fires warning as England wobble in Euro 2020 qualifying

  • Gareth Southgate has warned England they need to stop dreaming of Euro glory
  • He has demanded a sharp improvement if they wish to contend next summer
  • The Three Lions were defeated 2-1 by the Czech Republic on Friday night
  • Southgate is contemplating a return to the back three against Bulgaria 

England manager Gareth Southgate has warned his team that they need to stop dreaming of Wembley glory at Euro 2020 and make a sharp improvement if they wish to be considered contenders for the next summer’s tournament.

With both the semis and finals scheduled to be at Wembley next summer, England have a rare opportunity to replicate the 1966 World Cup win, yet the team seem far off that standard after the 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, with Southgate now contemplating at tactical change and returning to a back three.

Southgate said: ‘It’s not for me to tell the public not to dream and not to have hope. I think internally, we have to be different and be realistic and we haven’t changed our tone on that at all. 

Gareth Southgate has warned his England side they need to stop dreaming of Euro 2020 glory

Gareth Southgate has warned his England side they need to stop dreaming of Euro 2020 glory

The Three Lions suffered a hugely disappointing 2-1 defeat at the Czech Republic on Friday

The Three Lions suffered a hugely disappointing 2-1 defeat at the Czech Republic on Friday

‘We know our strengths and we know the areas we have to improve upon. We’ve talked about it throughout the week and we’ve had evidence of it tonight. So, I don’t think any of us within the camp are under any illusions. To be a really top team, with players with experience of winning the biggest matches, we’re still some way from that.’

It means Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland are planning to work on further tactical changes having switched from 3-5-3 to 4-3-3 last year. The team looked wide open trying to play 4-2-3-1 in the first half against the Czech Republic and now Southgate is contemplating whether they need to return to a back three to improve defensive solidity.

‘I think players take in tactical concepts very quickly, especially top players,’ he said. ‘So, we have to keep reflecting on what’s working, what’s possible and learn from every experience we have. We’ve had straightforward qualifying games that haven’t challenged us. 

‘Tonight [against Czech Republic] was a proper test and we didn’t come through, so it would be naive not to take the lessons from what we’ve seen on the pitch tonight.’

England will be desperate to bounce back against Bulgaria away on Monday night

England will be desperate to bounce back against Bulgaria away on Monday night

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