England captain Jordan Henderson and goalscorer Harry Kane gave their thoughts after Friday’s 4-0 victory over Malta.
The win took Gareth Southgate’s side one step closer to next summer’s World Cup in Russia, but the Three Lions were made to work for the points against a stubborn Maltese side.
But once Kane had broken the deadlock early in the second half, late goals from Ryan Bertrand, Danny Welbeck and a second for Kane gave the scoreline some gloss ahead of the return to Wembley for Monday’s match with Slovakia.
- European Qualifier
- Friday 1 September 2017
- Ta'Qali Stadium, Malta
- Live on ITV
“They were difficult to break down in the first half – we didn’t have that many clear-cut chances,” admitted Henderson.
“We were taking risks when we might not have needed to at times but you’ve got to do that to break them down.
“You’ve got to take risks and it’s not always going to work but we knew at half-time, keep going, keep persevering and we’ll break them down eventually, and thankfully, we managed to score some good goals in the end.
“Of course, we’ve got a lot to improve on. We’ll look back on the performance tomorrow and the next day, and look back on things to improve on.
“But I thought it was a professional performance. I thought we were solid at the back and we kept persevering, and managed to get the goals in the end, so there’s still positives to come out of it but still a lot of improvement as well.”
For Kane, the game offered a similar feeling to many of England’s qualifying games in recent years, with the opposition happy to sit in and force their guests to break the deadlock.
But the Tottenham Hotspur striker accepts it, and was ultimately happy with the final outcome.
“Whenever you come away – games like this – it’s never going to be easy from the start,” he said.
“We were trying to break them down. You know what it’s like when you come to games like this. They put all ten or eleven men behind the ball.
“We just knew to keep moving it, the spaces will open and the chances will come and 4-0’s a good result.
“You’ve got to make sure your passes are spot-on and they probably weren’t in the first half but we knew to keep moving it wide and you’ll get chances, and that’s what happened.
“We’re very happy. We look forward to Monday now.”
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