Gareth Southgate slams England’s defensive errors in ‘bizarre’ Kosovo win | Football | Sport
England made it four wins out of four as they marched on towards qualification for Euro 2020 thanks to Raheem Sterling’s superb performance – and will be through if they beat the Czech Republic in their next qualifying game next month.
Southgate’s men found themselves a goal down after 34 seconds – but as Jadon Sancho notched his first two goals for England thanks to the brilliant Sterling’s two assists, they fought back.
But Southgate will know that defending like this in the finals against better teams will cost his men dear.
The England coach said: “It was a bizarre game. There were obvious poor errors for goals but I’m really pleased with the composure we showed.
“We had devastating attacking play throughout and we used the ball well.
“The mistakes were obvious, the errors, we have to be better. The players don’t need me to tell them that. The outstanding parts of our play were obvious, the errors were obvious.”
Sancho said: “It was crazy. I’m delighted to score my first goal for England. The opener was a bad mistake from us but it was a great comeback.
“It means a lot to me personally, and for my family it is a special day. I dedicate the goals to my nan who was a big fan of me but has sadly passed away.”
Michael Keane’s dreadful error in the first few seconds, passing the ball straight to Vedat Muriqi who set up Valon Berisha for the first of his two goals, set the tone for a night when both defences had nightmares.
England levelled when Sterling nodded home, and went ahead when Harry Kane slotted in after his lovely turn and pass. Mergim Vojvoda’s own goal made it 3-1 – with Kosovo furious because Fidan Aliti was on the floor injured.
Sterling then tore them apart again to set up Sancho for England’s fourth, and on the stroke of half time did it again for the 19 year old’s second.
But then Declan Rice gave the ball away and Berisha grabbed his second goal. And six minutes later Harry Maguire brought down Muriqi – who slammed home the penalty.
England should have settled it when Ross Barkley was brought down – but Kane for only the second time in an England shirt saw his penalty saved.
Kosovo coach Bernard Challandes: “We lost some balls and paid immediately. England’s counter attacks were beautiful. But we won the second half 2-0.”