Sam under pressure to deliver result
Sam Allardyce has admitted he is 'massively' under pressure to secure a positive start to his reign as England manager against Slovakia on Sunday, but warned that the Group F opponents will pose a wholly different challenge to the defensive unit which claimed a 0-0 Euro 2016 draw in St Etienne two months ago.
Having rejected the opportunity to begin his spell in charge with a Wembley friendly, Allardyce goes into the clash in Trnava knowing there will be little room for error or experimentation.
But with Slovakia claiming a 2-1 home win against Spain during the Euro 2016 qualification campaign, Allardyce claims that Sunday's opponents possess the quality to upset England unless his players are prepared for the home side to make a fast start.
"In the qualifiers, it seems they had a fantastic start and drifted away towards the end, but they were on the front foot at the beginning," he said.
"It will be very important for them and their manager and that might hopefully leave our creative players a little bit more space to break them down where they failed in the Euros."
But with England still overcoming the humiliation of losing to Iceland at Euro 2016, Allardyce accepts he is under pressure to mastermind an impressive performance.
"Massively, yes," he said. "And there is a huge need to at the least come back with a result."