England manager Gareth Southgate insists his side are on the right track despite an alarming 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday night.
The Three Lions were relegated from their Nations League group after a fifth game in a row without a win, having failed to score from open play for all 450 minutes.
Traveling San Siro supporters appeared to boo Southgate after another uninspiring display – which raised serious concerns ahead of the World Cup in November.
However, the 52-year-old believes there were positives to be taken from his side’s performance.
Southgate told talkSPORT: “I thought the performance was very close. I think we used the ball well until the last third.
“We had more possession, more attempts on goal. But the decisive moments, we do not treat them in one box or the other.
“When you’re playing top nations and there are few chances in games, it’s those critical moments that make the difference.”
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The Three Lions have failed to score from open play in five games, their worst run in 22 years.
Southgate admits it understands the backlash “inevitably” – but will urge its players to block it.
“We are scratching our heads considering the attacking players we had on the pitch,” he said.
“We found the spaces and dragged their defense out of shape. But the last good bits weren’t there.
“It’s hard to understand. I can’t stay in the dressing room and criticize the players because I think we were on the right track.
“It’s a night where you have to be very careful, in the locker room, not to lose confidence in what you’re doing and get distracted by, inevitably, which will cause a lot of noise because of the results we’ve had. had.”
Southgate added: “I completely understand the run of results we’ve had, the fans are going to be disappointed, angry and all those sorts of emotions.
“Whatever I say to the fans tonight, it’s not going to go particularly well. I understand that.
“My job is to keep the team straight, to keep them on track, to believe in what we are doing.
“If you keep doing the right things, things will turn out for you.”
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