Football: 'We let ourselves down badly'

Norman Fox hears the apologetic England coach rue a lack of creativity

HAVING EXPERIENCED for the first time the vociferous spite of a sneering Wembley crowd in almost full cry, Glenn Hoddle struggled to defend his England team. He admitted they had failed to find the necessary creativity to overcome a Bulgarian side playing to expose that predictable weakness.

In what was nothing less than a public apology, he said afterwards that there was a justifiable case for the booing. "We let ourselves down today. We can still win the group but we've got to get that result out of our system on Wednesday against Luxembourg. We didn't have enough creativity. Bulgaria came with five across the back and defended well but we didn't spring their defence or create enough. In that respect we missed Paul Ince."

He said everyone in the dressing-room was unhappy. "We don't want to play that badly again." Asked about his own situation, he said: "In the sense of winning the group, of course I feel under pressure. We wanted to get the advantage of three points but it was the worst performance by an England team at Wembley since I took over. We went through the game waiting for things to happen rather than making them happen. We just didn't do enough to make them happen."

Stating the obvious but at least not skirting the problems, he said: "We missed someone winning the ball in the middle. We needed three or four passes before we hit the front men." Reflecting on the fact that Jamie Redknapp had his name taken and will miss the game against Luxembourg, he said: "That is a big blow. We've put ourselves under more pressure but credit to Bulgaria. Even so, the spirit this week has been great."

Hoddle said he was not surprised how well Bulgaria defended although he had been by the number of changes that had been made since the last match. But he was prepared to criticise his own team more heavily than at any time in his career as England's coach. He said that in the middle third of the pitch, when Bulgaria were "out of shape", England failed to react and cause them problems. "A 0-0 draw is sometimes worse than a 1-1. We now need to get three points on the board. We needed to take advantage of playing at Wembley today but we haven't done that."

Like so many of his predecessors who have experienced this same discomfort at Wembley, he said: "It was a difficult game because they came and got what they wanted. We didn't do enough individually or as a team to open them up."

The lack of imagination in the England midfield has become a long-standing problem and one that yesterday Redknapp, for all of his pre-publicity, failed to overcome.

If there was any compensation for Hoddle it came from the generous Bulgarian coach, Dimitar Dimitrov, who said he respected Hoddle and England greatly in spite of the team being jeered off the pitch. He said: "There is plenty of time before we meet them again. Plenty of time for our young players to come through but I still think England are a fantastic team. They have plenty of time to correct any bad results. They are a much better side than Poland. But I expected more pressure, we approached the game well tactically and got a good result."

He was particularly satisfied since, as he said, he had made five changes to his team and had introduced several new players. "They showed a lot of character and strength. We tried to stop the gaps in our defence. We also tried to neutralise Alan Shearer and Michael Owen. We came with attacking intentions. We didn't intend to play defensively."

No doubt even a disappointed crowd will have taken that with a pinch of salt, but Hoddle was without any doubt leaving Wembley last night licking his wounds and awaiting further personal criticism.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?