England manager Gareth Southgate said he “didn’t like” how his players managed the final 15 minutes of their 2-0 win in Albania on Sunday, adding that his side needed to “tighten up” on areas of their play.
The Three Lions made it two wins from two to start their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup, with goals from Harry Kane and Mason Mount either side of half-time securing a comfortable victory.
Southgate said his team did well to adapt to a dry pitch at the Air Albania Stadium, as well as an unexpected formation change from the hosts, but was critical of how his players saw out the contest in Tirana.
“It was a difficult pitch to move the ball on so we adapted well to that,” Southgate told ITV after the match. “We controlled the game, and after 25 minutes we changed the shape of the midfield and we looked a lot more dangerous.
“Albania were in a different formation to the one that they played their last 25 matches, so I thought we adapted well to that.
“We were comfortable for most of the second half. I just thought that at the end of the game we had opportunities to make it three and should have killed the game off.
“I didn’t like how we managed the game in the last 15 minutes, charging forward when we didn’t need to, a throw-in at the end that we almost conceded from. I’m pleased with the win but there are certainly areas that we can tighten up on.”
The England manager also praised the performances of Mount and Phil Foden, who started together in attacking midfield positions for just the second time under Southgate.
“They were very good, both of them,” Southgate said. “You can see in those games where there is very little space, the way they manipulate the ball through those tight areas.
“They both have vision, they’re both a goal threat, but they work so hard as well for the team. Both of them really pressed well when we lost the ball tonight.”