Gareth Southgate has explained England should have come out of Tuesday’s game against France with a draw, and that their game management was to blame for the 3-2 defeat.
Ousmane Dembele netted the winner just over 10 minutes from time as the 10 men Les Bleus downed the Three Lions at the Stade de France, after Harry Kane scored a brace either side of goals from Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe.
After pulling level early in the second half through Kane’s penalty, it seemed Southgate’s side were on course to turn up the pressure and go on to claim a win.
Raphael Varane was shown a straight red card in giving away the spot kick – awarded by a video assistant referee – but seeing France reduced to 10 men did little to spur England on.
In fact, it was the hosts who started to dominate, and Dembele’s late winner was more than they deserved after a thrilling display of attacking football from the side with one fewer player.
Southgate feels the Three Lions should have, as a minimum, held on for the draw in Paris, saying his players’ lack of game management was the reason for the defeat.
Speaking to talkSPORT after the game, Southgate said: “I think the way we managed the period from 2-2, when France were down to 10 men, that was an opportunity to go on and win the game.
“But minimum you should come out with the 2-2.
“The best way to manage the game is to keep possession of the ball, make the opposition run, make sure we would be able to press because we’ve got a man extra.
“But we didn’t manage that period of the game well.”
Asked how he feels England have progressed in his eight-game spell as manager, and what still needs improving, Southgate again highlighted the need to manage the game as an area which must be worked on.
“I think with the ball generally we are progressing,” he continued. “I mean we’ve given some poor passes away, and that cost us a goal at the end of the game today, but we are keeping the ball better, we are creating chances and looking a threat with the ball.
“But what we’ve got to do is manage games better, and we are aware of that. In fact tonight, in that aspect, hasn’t told us something we didn’t know, but when you play a team of this quality – and they are one of the best in the world – they will expose any fragilities you have, and at the moment that’s a moment in the game when they go down to 10 where we’ve got to step forward and control those points in the game.”