Gareth Southgate was “quite happy” with England’s performance despite lacking “a bit of sharpness” in attack in a goalless draw with Italy.
The Three Lions and the Azzurri played out an unremarkable Nations League stalemate in front of empty stands as Southgate experimented against Europe’s inexperienced Nations League champions.
England saw plenty of the ball, especially in the second half, but again struggled to break through a stubborn defence.
After watching Tammy Abraham struggle for serve, Southgate admitted his side needed to find other sources of goals.
“We relied too much on Harry and Raheem for our goals and other players need to step into that space,” he told Channel 4.
“A number of them are doing it with their clubs, but at international level at the moment they haven’t been able to convert that, so we looked dangerous without scoring the necessary goals in big games.”
England 0-0 Italy: Ranking the players of a Nations League draw at Molineux
However, Southgate insisted he was happy with the overall performance and believes the lack of an audience had an impact on the game.
“I don’t see how you can (call this performance cautious) because we were trying to get the ball through against a very good, well-organized side,” the England manager said.
“We put the ball in our forwards and we tried them all and tried to refresh it because we know the state of the season we are in.
“So I think right now that little bit of sharpness in the final third isn’t quite there, but I was happy with the overall performance.”
He added: “You can’t ignore the fact that when you really push – and I thought we were the better team in the second half – you don’t have a crowd to help you or put the opposition under. pressure and that makes a huge difference for the team.
When asked who he thinks performed well at Molineux, Southgate said: “I thought today Aaron Ramsdale did very very well, he made some very important saves and I thought that his composure with the ball was exactly what we hoped for.
“I think Bukayo (Saka) has also done really well and I’m really pleased that he’s recovered from the slight injury he suffered and that’s going to give us more depth in that area of the pitch.
“I think James Ward-Prowse did well today, he used the ball well, he controlled the game, his passing was good so I think there were positives from the players. that we had to examine.
“I thought Tammy (Abraham) was fine, I’d like to see that chance go from the start, but it’s probably the one we felt we needed to refresh the three players when we did, but I Wasn’t unhappy with Tammy’s performance at all.