Gareth Southgate said he will take criticism from England fans after the Three Lions were beaten again by Italy in their rematch of the Euro 2020 final on Friday and relegated from League A, the top division of the UEFA Nations League.
The 1-0 defeat at the San Siro left England with no wins from five games in the competition and a worrying lack of goals with only one more match to play before it travels to Qatar for the World Cup.
England has not scored a goal in open play in this season's Nations League and Southgate, the England head coach, was booed by a large section of the away support in Milan after the defeat that dumped it down to League B.
"It's really difficult to pinpoint why we're not scoring, because I think we're getting into the right areas," Southgate told reporters.
"We had the moments that we had in the past we just didn't deliver the final piece of quality tonight. I understand the reaction at the end because that's the results we've had in this competition and yeah it's an understandable emotional reaction."
Southgate insisted he was not dispirited by a display in which England not only failed to score but struggled to create chances despite having talented attacking players like Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling at his disposal.
"It's difficult for me to be too difficult of the performance, we had more possession, more shots, more shots on target, I think for large parts of the game we played very well," said Southgate.
"We didn't deal with the decisive moment defensively and we had moments where we had the chance to be more decisive in their final third where our quality just wasn't quite right," he added. "Of course, results are going to be the thing everyone reacts to but I thought there were a lot of positives for us a team... But I completely understand because of the result that is not going to be the reaction externally."
Roberto Mancini was typically diplomatic, praising England when asked about the questions surrounding Southgate's tenure as coach.
"You are in the World Cup and this is the most important. Football is very strange," said Mancini, whose Azzurri will miss out on the World Cup after falling to North Macedona in the UEFA playoffs. "My opinion is England are one of the best teams in the world, they lost the game but I think they can have a good chance in the World Cup. After that Serie (League) B is not important."
© Agence France-Presse
Damn, it's almost like scoring goals and beating national teams is difficult....
What else can Southgate expect? He selects a squad oveewhelmed with defensive players. He has the team line up with 6 defenders in a 4-2-3-1 or whatever. He has ignored creative talents like Grealish, and the team has no #10. England can only go so far playing defense 99% of the time. World Cup non-qualifier Italy is the limit. England can surely squeak out wins over Azerbaijan and Armenia, and they will mosy likely survive their group at the World Cup. Hwoever, Southgate has not structured a team that can win the World Cup. Maybe someone will talk sense into him, or he'll recognize the need to make changes now, late in the game.
Yesterday's 3-4-3 was ever so slightly more attack-minded, but I have to wonder whether Southgate has the chops to structure a dangerous attack.