England manager Gareth Southgate has stated that he didn’t like the performance of his players despite their comprehensive 6-1 win against Panama in Sunday’s World Cup Group G encounter in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Three Lions dominated the game from start to finish with Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick, John Stones, a brace and Jesse Lingard netting the other goal.
Substitute Felipe Baloy got a consolation goal for Panama on 78 minutes and Southgate noted how the concession could hold significance when it comes to top spot in the group.
“I didn’t particularly like the performance! I didn’t like the start and I didn’t like the goal at the end but I guess the bits in the middle were pretty good,” Southgate told reporters after the game.
“I am being hyper-critical, though. I just thought we were a little anxious at the start. We played some really good stuff for 35-40 minutes but then of course the second half was more difficult.
“At 5-0 we talked about the importance of one more goal to be top of the group, so that’s why the goal at the end was disappointing, but by the same token for everything everyone has put into it over the last few weeks it is rewarding to see how they are playing and how they are enjoying their football and I am sure everybody at home was enjoying it as well.
“Confidence-wise, it was important that we were able to score goals. Our set plays were also a threat and that was pleasing to see. We want to keep momentum, we will have to think exactly about the team we want to put out against Belgium because there is an opportunity for players that need a match, but we also want to keep winning football matches. It is a nice decision to have.”