Sam Allardyce said England got what they deserved after Adam Lallana’s added-time goal gave the Three Lions victory over 10-man Slovakia in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier.
The visitors dominated possession and created a host of chances, but it looked as though they would be held to a goalless draw in Allardyce’s first match as manager.
Lallana hit the post midway through the second half and substitute Theo Walcott had a goal ruled out for offside with just a minute remaining.
Slovakia 0-1 England
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
European Qualifiers (Group F)
5pm (BST), Sunday 4 September
City Arena, Trnava (Slovakia)
But Lallana popped up deep into added time to convert Danny Rose’s low cross.
Allardyce said: “It was pretty nerve-wracking at the end because the 10-men scenario means you must win.
“It [was] difficult to break them down. They [Slovakia] are going to try that bit harder [against England], they’re going to defend that bit longer, but I thought we got what we deserved.
“It looked like it wasn’t going to be our night. We hit the post, we had 20 attempts at goal, they had seven.
“We have dominated the game, and in the end got a very important win.”
Slovakia went down to 10 men just before the hour mark as their captain, Martin Skrtel, was dismissed for two bookable offences, prompting Allardyce to throw attacking trio Dele Alli, Daniel Sturridge and Walcott into the fray.
He explained: “We [had] to push both full-backs on, we had to get the wide men coming in between the lines to break down two banks of four.
“They were clearly not going to do much attacking [with 10 men]. We broke them down pretty well I thought, apart from the final finish.
“Finally we did get the goal and it’s [Lallana’s] first goal for England, so good luck to him."