'Hurt' England manager Gareth Southgate will take the flak and protect players after awful loss

England manager Gareth Southgate. Picture: Nick Potts/PA.England manager Gareth Southgate. Picture: Nick Potts/PA.
England manager Gareth Southgate. Picture: Nick Potts/PA.
ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate has pledged to protect his under-fire players after Tuesday's atrocious 4-0 reverse to Hungary - while taking the flak for results on a night when the hosts suffered their worst defeat on home soil since 1928.

The Three Lions' worrying and lamentable form continued as their winless streak extended to four matches for the first time since 2014.

After the summer recess, England have three games to get things back on track ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, with Southgate under increasing pressure.

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The England chief was subjected to chants of 'You don't know what you are' late on in the game at Wolverhampton, with the Hungarians scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes to record just their second win in England and first since the Mighty Magyars triumphed at Wembley in 1953 - while also recording a Nations League double.

Southgate, whose side looked mentally shot by the end on a night when John Stones was harshly dismissed for two bookable offences, said: "In the end, this is about winning matches with England but tonight was the sort of night my predecessors have had experienced.

"I am not going to say it does not hurt but it is clear to me what we were trying to do across the four matches.

"The Nations League campaigns have put negativity and pressure onto us and you don't normally have that as England manager. It is my job to protect the players, the results are my responsibility.

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"People will rightly say, 'what are you talking about?' We needed to see some things. We have had some unbelievable nights with England over the last four or five year but this is the other side and that is the reality of football."

"We picked a young team with energy and when the game started to go against them it started to look that way, that is my responsibility in the end.

"At half-time we needed to go for the game and made changes with more of an attacking impetus. It left us more open when we were pushing and it left us wide open.

"Across the four matches, that is my responsibility, I tried to balance looking at new players, resting players we could not keep flogging but in the end the teams have not been strong enough in the two Hungary games, the other two results were positive but tonight is a chastening experience."

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