Belfast Telegraph

Interim boss Gareth non-committal after Wembley victory

By Robert Jones

Interim England boss Gareth Southgate refused to comment on whether he will become the permanent manager of the national side after a 3-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley.

Striker Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring for the hosts in the first half before Adam Lallana killed off any chance of a Scotland comeback by doubling England's advantage after the break, with Gary Cahill adding gloss by adding a third.

But the result did not sway the former Middlesbrough manager from answering on whether he will be the full-time successor of Sam Allardyce.

Southgate said: "I just want time to reflect at the end of this fortnight. I've loved doing it but I think it is an opportunity for everybody to have some time to decide. The FA can decide want they want to do, what process they want to go through.

"I'm just content that we won the game tonight, that was the most important thing.

"I am going to enjoy tonight, I was asked to take the job for the four games and keep the country at the top of the group.

"Tonight was an important moment, not just for the supporters but for the team as well."

On the result, he added: "We caused some problems for ourselves, at times we were sloppy so that is an area we can improve on.

"But some of our use of the ball once we got through that phase was fantastic.

"The team in an attacking sense played with balance, interchange of positions and there were some superb individual performances and they managed the game reasonably well towards the end."

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher believes the scoreline was exaggerated in the defeat at the hands of England and still backs Gordon Strachan as the right man for the job.

He said: "Anybody who watches the match, who knows football will appreciate that was not a 3-0 game. They will realise that was a hard-fought battle.

"For 75 minutes, we had a right good go and just as many chances but the difference was England took theirs. It's disappointing, the effort we put in and to come away with a 3-0 defeat is hard to take. People will look at that game and realise it wasn't a 3-0 game but we lost it.

"It doesn't matter if you lose by one, two or three - you lose, you get no points but we will pick ourselves up and go again.

"Football is a results-based business. That is the be-all and end-all. You can play terrible, score a scruffy goal and win and no one remembers it - you can play well, lose 3-0 and people will always remember the defeat.

"But the players believe in the manager, enjoy working for him and know how passionate he is."

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