The Three Lions continued their perfect start in Group A with a comfortable win that pleased their coach, who praised their forward play
England manager Gareth Southgate said he was “generally pleased’ with his team’s performance in their 4-0 win over Bulgaria in their Euro 2020 qualification game at Wembley.
A Harry Kane hat-trick, plus a goal from Raheem Sterling, assisted by Kane, saw England return to the top of Group A, with three wins from three games.
Kosovo had briefly displaced the Three Lions at the top of the group after they continued their perfect start to the qualification campaign with a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic ahead of England’s game.
Despite the comfortable nature of the score line the unfancied Bulgarians had their chances, with one save by Jordan Pickford from a Wanderson effort at 1-0 a key moment.
Despite the opportunities for their opponent Southgate didn’t think his team was complacent, and complimented their attacking verve.
“In a game like this you have got to make sure the concentration is right. I always felt we had enough firepower to win the game,” the former-Middlesbrough boss told ITV Sport after the game.
“I’m not sure it’s complacency – every team will have some moments, you just have to make sure you see the runs, but I’m generally pleased – some of our attacking play at times was really exciting.”
It took a quarter of the game before England scored, when Sterling pounced on an errant pass from Bulgarian goalkeeper Plamen Iliev before squaring to Kane to open his account.
Two penalties from the skipper, either side of the Manchester City mans’ close-range tap-in, secured the result.
Only Gary Lineker (27) had more goals in his first 40 England appearances than Kane, who now boasts 25.
The 49-year-old Southgate admitted that the Bulgarian tactics caused his team some problems, but was pleased with the way his charges grew into the game.
“I think it [England’s performance] improved as the game went on,” he added.
We didn’t need to over-complicate things. We looked dangerous, at times we took a few too many touches. Their formation caused us problems out of possession as well.”
If England can defeat Kosovo at Southampton’s St. Mary’s stadium on Tuesday night they wil take a stranglehold on their group.
Southgate’s men face potentially difficult away trips to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic in October’s round of fixtures.