England coach Gareth Southgate said negativity towards his management of the team is “unhealthy” and urged fans to get behind his team in Monday’s UEFA Nations League match against Germany.
A crowd of 90,000 is expected at Wembley for the England final before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November.
– Stream on ESPN +: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, and more (US)
England have not won any of their last five matches and Southgate was booed from the crowd when he conceded to them throughout the 1-0 defeat to Italy in Milan on Friday.
That criticism followed chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” and “You get kicked out in the morning” from England fans at Molino in June as Southgate’s side lost 4-0 to Hungary, their worst home defeat in 94 years.
England will play Wembley for the first time since March and Southgate told a news conference: “We have 90,000 spectators – the whole stadium is sold out – so people want to come to see this team play.
“And that’s because the players have done an incredible job for six years. We were at the back of a really difficult time in terms of the relationship with the fans at the beginning of that journey and slowly we built the finishes that were already discussed in this room.
“Of course, it’s not healthy for the team to have this noise around them. I totally understand that. But for me to take responsibility, I let them go and play. I want them to feel free, they know we always talk about it around the training ground, in Training ground, I would urge the fans to stand behind the team.
“How they deal with me at the end or anytime, on phone calls or anywhere else is completely different. But this is their last chance to see the boys before they go to the World Cup and we are all in it.
“We can only succeed if we all push in the same direction and we all have that positive energy towards doing well. What happens to me is frankly irrelevant. It is about the team. The most important thing is the team and the success of the team.”
– Ole: England’s fears of scoring before the World Cup
Southgate insisted he will not shy away from criticism as he is focused on achieving success in Qatar after reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final, which were postponed last summer.
“Look, I’m the manager and the results haven’t been to the level we want and demand,” Southgate said. “So, no matter what job you have in football, that will be the case.
“With the national team, that noise will be louder and more widespread and I totally understand that. [I’m] Not hiding from it. It’s a situation we don’t enjoy, we don’t win football matches, but we have to keep doing the right things every day to keep improving the little parts of our performance that can make a difference.
“If we treat each day this way and keep the standards high, the performance comes and in the end the results shift. I don’t think it was any different.
“I am now sad in my fifties. I spent 30 years in football. In one form or another, I have participated in 12 tournaments, whether it is working with these chapters or exploring, this will be my seventh as a player or coach.
“I’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve seen the cycle of war with the media, I’ve seen absolute love. We’re somewhere in the middle of that, or not quite in the middle. So it’s great to be watching from my side.”
“It’s a life experience that I knew at one point would probably come with this job. So I have to accept that. I wasn’t so preoccupied with what happened before and wasn’t too frustrated about what’s happening now.
“I want to make it right of course. I want the team to win, and I want the team to play well. I want the fans to be happy, that’s why I took on the job. I wanted to make a difference in English football. That will never change and I will keep working every hour I have to try to improve What we do.”