Euro 2024: ‘That is quite difficult’, says Southgate on ‘personal criticism’ as England enter SF

Dusseldorf: England manager Gareth Southgate admitted he has found the “personal criticism” of his management “difficult” but asserted that his team will not stop fighting as they entered the semifinals of the Euro 2024 after a thrilling victory over Switzerland on penalties.

England and Switzerland were 1-1 at the end of the extra time. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved Manuel Akanji’s penalty in the shootout to steal a win in the quarterfinal on Saturday. England had their all penalties converted by Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“I wanted us to regain credibility on the world stage. So I can’t deny that when it is as personal as it has been in the past few weeks, on a human level that is quite difficult. But we are fighting, we won’t stop fighting and we’re in another semifinal and we’ll see where we can get to,” Southgate said after the match.

“Every now and then you think: ‘Surely there has to be some enjoyment in this job.’ So, if I can’t enjoy that moment then the whole thing is a waste of time. I love the players. I love being in that moment with them. I took this job to try and improve English football, not the seniors when I first joined the Football Association,” he added.

Southgate said his side want to create history by reaching their first final on foreign soil and lifting the title for the first time. “As I said to the players, again, with England it was often start 25 minutes really well, ahead in games and then and then out in the early knockout rounds.”

He admitted his team’s conservative approach in the tournament but credited players for their determination and longevity. “We weren’t savvy, we weren’t tournament wise. This group are different. They keep possession for longer periods. We haven’t always got it right. The games with that we’ve ultimately gone out people can always look back and highlight things.”

“But, in general, we’ve shown the resilience that the teams that win tournaments have had for years and years. Italy, France, Spain, you know, it’s not all pure football. It’s other attributes that they’ve had, and we’re showing a little bit more of that streetwise nature.

“We want to always be competitive in tournaments. England should be competitive for the coming years. This is a young team that a lot of them are going to be around for a long time. But, of course, now we want to deliver one. We’ve never been to a final outside of England, we’ve never won a Euros, so there’s two bits of history we’d love to create,” he said.

England will now take on Netherlands in the second semi-final at Westfalenstadion in Dortmund on Thursday.

–IANS

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