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Mason Mount makes case for England’s defence being key to World Cup hopes

The Chelsea midfielder believes the Three Lions could be punished if they concede two goals, like they did against Iran, deeper into the tournament.

Mark Mann-Bryans
Tuesday 22 November 2022 12:00 GMT
Mason Mount in action against Iran (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mason Mount in action against Iran (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Mason Mount admits England must improve defensively if they are to go deep into the World Cup.

While many were toasting the attacking display as England secured a 6-2 victory over Iran in their opening Group B fixture, shipping two goals annoyed manager Gareth Southgate.

Mehdi Taremi’s brace, a powerful finish and a last-gasp penalty, prevented the Three Lions from achieving their biggest ever World Cup win and Mount believes conceding twice in the knockout rounds could see England going home early.

“I think you could see the way we moved with the ball and the combinations that we played with is something we worked on during the previous five days we were here,” he said.

“But you see things about us needing to be more attacking but in the major tournaments you cannot afford to concede goals. That is when you – going further – start losing games.

“So you have to focus on that. That is what we have been doing as well. How defensively solid we can be.

“To score six goals is amazing but to concede two is not what we want to do and something we will look at going into the next game.”

To score six goals is amazing but to concede two is not what we want to do and something we will look at going into the next game.

Mason Mount

England’s scintillating performance came after a run of six games without a win heading into the World Cup.

It was a period of form which saw Southgate come in for widespread criticism for the first time since his appointment in 2016.

But Mount hailed the desire of the squad to begin their World Cup campaign with a victory and put a poor spell behind them.

“The last six games I don’t think we’ve had a win, so going into the game you can have that thought in your head, that we need to get an early goal or else it could be a difficult one,” added the Chelsea midfielder.

“But the way that we’ve trained over the last couple of days, the focus of this group and the desire to go out there and perform today was top class from all the boys.

“The way we started the game on that high press and the way we played with the ball really set the tone for the game.

“To get that early goal, it helps confidence-wise, and then to get two more in the first half.

“We know that the next game is going to be huge. It’s the USA, they are a top team, I know a few of their players so it’s a game that you want to play in and it’s a game that you’re very excited for.”

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