Gareth Southgate warns his England side against complacency and to ‘not think we’re BETTER than we are’ ahead of crucial World Cup qualifier against Poland… with Three Lions boss admitting they have prepared ‘specifics’ to stop Robert Lewandowski
- England face Poland in another World Cup qualifier in Warsaw tomorrow night
- Gareth Southgate’s side are top of their group, five points ahead of the Poles
- They put four past both Hungary and Andorra in qualifiers in the last week
- Poland will be led by captain and talisman Robert Lewandowski in attack
Gareth Southgate has urged his England side to take a ‘positive step’ towards the World Cup with a win against Poland but warned his side against complacency in Warsaw.
The Three Lions are top of Group I with a maximum of 15 points but the Poles are only five points behind, with only top spot guaranteed a spot at the World Cup in Qatar next year.
Southgate said: ‘This is a big opportunity for us, we can take a positive step to the World Cup with a win in Warsaw. It’s a high level of motivation but also guarding against any feeling that we’re better than we’re are.
England manager Gareth Southgate has warned his side against complacency tomorrow night
The Three Lions are top of their World Cup qualifying group, five points ahead of Poland
‘We’re having a good run of results because we’re working hard for each other, without the ball we’re very disciplined and that sets the tone for our game.’
‘To go away from home is not easy, not straightforward. Poland have high motivation, to top the group they probably have to win the game.
Southgate also refused to admit the XI which started in Hungary last week – and was rested for Sunday’s win against Andorra – will come straight back in.
‘You could argue over what is our strongest team,’ he said. ‘The team in Hungary we were able to rest those guys, but there are still huge competition for places in this group.
‘It’s not straightforward to say this team will go again and give the same level of performance… we can’t just drift into the match. We’ve got to make sure our levels of concentration are high.’
Poland were without captain and talisman Robert Lewandowski when the two sides met in their first qualifier in March, which was settled by a late Harry Maguire goal, and Southgate admits they have prepared a specific plan around stopping the Bayern Munich frontman.
Poland will be led by captain and talisman Robert Lewandowski for the qualifier in Warsaw
Harry Maguire scored a late winner for England against Poland at Wembley back in March
‘Any team is going to miss a player of that [Lewandowski’s] calibre,’ he added.
‘We know that he is one of the best finishers in European football so we’ve got to prepare for what he brings to the team but we also know they have other strong players.
‘Yes we prepare for some specifics around Lewandowski but the whole team we’ve got to be ready for.’
England players were subjected to racism during their last away qualifier in Budapest on Thursday.
England players were subjected to racism during their last away qualifier in Budapest
While Southgate would not be drawn on the prospects of facing a similar scenario in Warsaw, he knows keeping possession is key to quietening the home crowd.
The 51-year-old said: ‘We have to approach the game as we did the other night. We know keeping possession of the ball can be a big factor in managing those situations.
‘But the flow of the game will be different and we are playing a level of opponent who I think is in a better moment. They have won their last two games and have better footballers in the team who will keep the ball a little bit better than Hungary were able to against us.’
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