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Erik ten Hag digs at Gareth Southgate's tactics after England survive Serbia scare

Erik ten Hag digs at Gareth Southgate's tactics after England survive Serbia scare

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag questioned Gareth Southgate's approach to matches after England's nervy 1-0 win over Serbia on Sunday.

England were good value for the lead that Jude Bellingham's first-half goal provided but lost their way in the second half and ended up hanging on, with Southgate waiting until the 70th minute to make any changes to the team.

Ten Hag was a pundit on Dutch TV for the game and took the opportunity to question Southgate, who had been touted as a leading contender to replace him at United before his continuation at Old Trafford was confirmed.

"It's the vision of the manager [Southgate]," Ten Hag told NOS. "England will take a 1-0 lead, then [Southgate] decides to start gambling with making his team compact and relying on moments for the remaining minutes of the game."

Southgate admitted his side's performance dropped in the second half but insisted England can actually benefit from such a challenge.

"We had to suffer a bit which I think is really good for us," he said. "To defend the box the way we did was really good for us.

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"I was really pleased with a lot of the play. Second half, we didn't keep it as well as I would have liked but to get the win is very important.

"Pleased we had to show a different side and show a resilience to defend our box because as a group that builds a spirit. We defended very well as a unit.

"Look, this team is still coming together. Everybody is expecting us to waltz through but there is a lot of hard work ahead.

"We're short of certain things, we're finding best possible solutions. We've had a very complicated run-in to all of this, but the spirit of the group was there for everybody to see tonight and we'll definitely grow from that."

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