Hodgson happy with table-toppers
Tuesday, 19 June, 2012
Manager delighted as England go through but targets improvement in knock-out stage
England Manager Roy Hodgson was pleased that his team had surprised many at Euro 2012, not just by getting out of Group D, but by winning it with two wins and a draw.
Topping the table ahead of the French, who lost 2-0 to Sweden, means England now have an extra day of rest before they face Italy and that will be crucial after three hard-fought matches so far.
“I think they’ve been good and if someone said we would win it it wouldn’t be popular because people thought we wouldn’t get out of the group,” Hodgson said.
“But we have won it on points and not goal difference and that is an extra days rest which we are badly in need of because that was a hard game tonight”
Despite being outnumbered by the home fans in Donetsk, the England supporters were in fantastic voice as they pushed the team on – along with some fortune that Hodgson's emerging side was certainly due.
“It was an away day with a capital A” he said. “There were 60,000 fans and only about 4,000 brave English so we didn’t have much going for us in that respect. But it was a great performance and we got a bit of luck.”
“I don’t think the goal was the result of a real difference in our play but in the first half we were good and worked hard but lacking composure when we broke. We can improve.
“As far as I am concerned this is a fledgling side and we have not worked together for long."
Hodgson also took time to praise the return of Wayne Rooney who came back from suspension in glorious goal-scoring fashion.
“Showing quality is the hardest part and that is why having Wayne Rooney is so important because that is what he has. Today was what we needed.
“He played well and worked hard and could have had more. We were dangerous on the counter but can do more.
“We had to play the circumstances and we were aware that Sweden were losing so we weren’t going to throw caution to the wind. We were conservative because we had to get through the group.”