I’ll take the heat’: Gareth Southgate shoulders blame as England are booed off after loss to Italy

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Gareth Southgate vowed to shoulder the blame for England’s worrying slump after the manager was booed by his own supporters in Italy on Friday night.

England were consigned to Nations League relegation as a result of this loss in Milan, their third loss in five matches.

But even more worryingly for Southgate his team have now gone five competitive matches without victory and not scored a goal in open play for 450 minutes.

A large section of England fans made their feeling crystal clear by jeering Southgate at the final whistle with the pressure on his team mounting ahead of the World Cup that starts in just eight weeks time.

The Three Lions boss moved to protect his players , insisting he would take the flak for England’s deeply concerning form.

‘We are on a run of bad results, it’s for us to put that right,’ Southgate said.

‘The only way to do that is to stick what we believe, stick with what’s got us success in previous tournaments and in the end the players have got to stay really tight.

‘There’s going to be a lot of noise but that will be around me and that’s absolutely fine. It’s my job to take that pressure for them.

‘I understand the reaction at the end because that’s the results we’ve had in this competition. It’s an understandable emotional reaction.’ Despite England’s sorry sequence – their worst run since 1992 – Southgate believed defeat at the San Siro represented an improvement.

‘It’s difficult for me to be too critical of the performance, we had more possession, more shots, more shots on target.

‘But it’s a spell where ultimately results are going to be the thing everyone reacts to but I thought there were lot of positives for us as a team tonight.

‘A lot of good individual performances, I personally thought the performance was a step in the right direction but I’Il perfectly understand that because of the result that’s not going to be the reaction.’ Midfielder Declan Rice insisted England will be force at the World Cup despite their current problems, adding: ‘I see it in training that there are goals for fun, trust me we are going be good.

‘It’s disappointing. Every tournament we set out we want to win the group, to progress and win every game.

‘In the Nations League we have slipped our standards. I did not think it was all bad tonight. One chance for them and one goal. We controlled the game and passed the ball around well, especially in the first half.

‘We just lacked that cutting edge in the end. But it is coming, much better performances than there were in the summer.’

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