Southgate to stick with 'plan'

09 September 2018 04:25:48 EST

Gareth Southgate has vowed to stick with his "plan" to make England a possession-based team despite the 2-1 Nations League defeat against Spain at Wembley.

The Three Lions started brightly in their first competitive game since the third-place play-off defeat against Belgium at the summer's World Cup in Russia when Marcus Rashford converted a sublime pass from his Manchester United team-mate Luke Shaw.

However, Spain, with new coach Luis Enrique at the helm, responded quickly as Saul Niguez equalised two minutes later on 13 and Rodrigo converted a free-kick at the near post on 32 minutes to snatch the victory for the visitors.

England should have ended the game with a point when Danny Welbeck scored deep into injury time, but the referee harshly adjudged that the Arsenal striker had fouled Spain goalkeeper David De Gea before he converted.

Now we have a choice. We can either go back to our old style and we'll never be a top team or we can keep trying to do what we do and suffer at times.

Gareth Southgate

Despite that frustration, Southgate acknowledged that Spain were the better team over the course of the game and he admitted that there will be more suffering to come before England are playing in the style which he is striving for.

He said: "We're under no illusions that Spain were the better team for large periods and are brilliant at what they do but we are in the early stages of what we're trying to do still.

"They pressed extremely well and it took us a while to work out where that press was coming from and find a solution to it. We did it a couple of times but at the moment we're still finding our feet in playing out from those areas.

"Now we have a choice. We can either go back to our old style and we'll never be a top team or we can keep trying to do what we do and suffer at times.

"We have got some players who can do it, others who are improving at it and for me it's the way I believe we should play."

Southgate, who revealed that Shaw was "up and talking" after being stretchered off during the second half because of a head injury, added: "It takes time. We've come a long way in a short space of time and today was as tough a test as you could have against a team that presses like that and are so good in possession.

"I think at the moment we have to stick with the plan, stick with what we're doing and just get better at doing it."

England are in friendly action next when they host Switzerland at Leicester's King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Three Lions are 10/11 to win, while the Swiss are 17/4 to come out on top with the draw 12/5.

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