Roy Hodgson backed his England team to complete automatic qualification for next summer’s World Cup by beating Poland on Tuesday night.
England are top of Group H, one point clear of Ukraine, and if they win their final game at Wembley they will win it and qualify for Brazil. Despite a difficult qualification campaign, Hodgson was confident his team would get the job done.
“Of course, that is the message,” Hodgson said afterwards. “We know that. The job's half done. We want to qualify direct, so we need to win against Poland. That won't be easy. That'll be difficult. They played very well in Ukraine in the first half, and had the better opportunities. If they play as well as they did in that first half, it'll be a tough game.”
Despite the high stakes on Tuesday night, Hodgson still has faith in his players.
“I always back the players. I trust the players. Nine games now and we're still unbeaten in qualifying. We're capable of going unbeaten through the 10th, and with the backing of the fans and playing with the talent we have, I'd be foolish not to back the players.”
Hodgson was delighted that his gamble to pick Andros Townsend – who made the first goal and scored the brilliant third - on the right wing had paid off. “Andros made a big impact. He got the man of the match. It can't be easy for a young player making his debut in a game of that nature, but he deserves the credit. He played with a calmness and composure I've seen when he's played for QPR and Tottenham.”
Gary Cahill said England would get their mentality right against a Polish team with nothing to play for. “We're confident, but not too confident. But we've got to go out with the same hunger, same mentality and if we can do that then I think we can finish the job.”
“We're confident because we've just played well, got great backing and support here. But there's still a big job to be done.