Football: 'Now we've got to show the real bulldog spirit in Bulgaria'
"I thought at half-time we couldn't play much worse, but within a minute of the second half we were down to 10 men and up against it. Graeme Le Saux had to come off because he's had a bit of a virus and was having a job breathing, so there was a lot of readjusting to do. In the end I was starting to think a draw might not be a bad result. It was one of those days.
"It was disappointing because we needed to win today. To be perfectly honest, no excuses, we never really got going and I can't give a reason for that. We never played at the pace we'd been talking about doing. Of course, we knew the opposition would be resilient and they made it difficult for us."
Like most observers, Keegan had no complaints about the two yellow cards shown to Paul Scholes. "I've no argument with it," he said. "I'm not annoyed with him or anything; he's a sparky little player who wants to win. I think had the referee known he'd already booked him, he might have been lenient, but that wouldn't have been following the rules. That's his game, he's tenacious, and as the surface got greasier, you had to time it right. With the new rules, he won't be the last England player to be sent off at Wembley. With the rules as they are, you just can't afford to make mistakes like that."
As for the group position, the manager believes that little has changed with this result. "It was always going to be the same going to Bulgaria on Wednesday. Nothing's changed really. Except that we need to win it. It's the play-offs at best now and we've got some work to do to get there. Obviously we've now got to show the real bulldog spirit in Bulgaria. We've taken a bit of a knock. We're down but not out."
Neither Keegan nor his captain, Alan Shearer, wanted to use fatigue at the end of a long season as an excuse for the performance, though Shearer said: "After starting well in the first few minutes we looked as if we had heavy legs. We should have played better, but the spark wasn't there for some reason. We never really looked like scoring. You don't get anything off Sweden at the best of times and now it looks as if it's going to have to be the play-offs and winning games all the way or we are in trouble."
The Swedes seemed surprised that they had enjoyed such an easy time of it all afternoon. "I didn't have anything to do during the whole game," said Coventry City's goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman. "We knew they were going to start very brightly, especially in the first 15 or 20 minutes of each half, and that we had to keep it tight.
"I was surprised England didn't make many chances, but with the defence I've got in front of me it's easy to be a goalkeeper. We're not there yet, but one more victory and we'll be very close."
Latest in Sport
MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix 2015: Five things we can expect this season plus what to look out for as Marc Marquez begins title defence
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Thierry Henry shows he's still got it with incredible pass against Jamie Carragher's side during Steven Gerrard tribute match
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...