Southgate risks backlash from England fans with Italy comments

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England boss Gareth Southgate has risked facing the wrath of Three Lions fans after claiming a 1-0 defeat by Italy was ‘a step in the right direction’ ahead of the World Cup. Southgate insisted that he could not be too critical of a display in which his side struggled to break down their Euro 2020 nemesis. 

Southgate said: “I personally felt the performance was a step in the right direction. But I appreciate -because of the result – that it won’t be the reaction.

“It is difficult of me to be too critical of the performance: we had more possession, more shots, more shots on target.”

Southgate was booed by fans after the game. 

“I understand the reaction at the end, as that’s the results we’ve had. It’s an emotional reaction,” he added.

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

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