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Southgate happy to leave Slovenia with a draw

England interim manager Gareth Southgate said after the scoreless draw to Slovenia on Tuesday that he still likes the position the team is in as they lead their World Cup qualifying group.

The point in Ljubljana meant that England still sits at the top of qualification Group F with 7 points in three matches, two points ahead of Lithuania and Slovenia. Southgate, normally England U21 boss, was thrown into the job as interim manager after the sudden departure of Sam Allardyce.

“I can’t thank the players and support team enough for the backing I have had,” Southgate said. “The four points from the position we were in last Tuesday… we wanted six, we would have liked to have scored more goals in the two games.

“But we have taken over a mess really and had to steady the ship. With the overall objective of qualifying, we have kept the team on track.

“The overall objective is to qualify so, long term, that could be an important point. Everyone can see we could be better but their chances came from our mistakes or set pieces.”

Southgate is convinced England can perform at a higher level and is calling on the players to limit their mistakes and be more clinical as they take on Scotland in November.

“We can play better, for sure,” Southgate said. “The opportunities they had were self-inflicted. That’s an area that clearly needs to be better. On a difficult pitch our final ball could have been better.

“We had a couple of chances that, on another day, our forwards might have finished. We owe our goalkeeper for an outstanding performance.

“Would I have been happy with a point before the game? No. But it is a very important point in the context of qualifying from the group.”

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