Hodgson pleased by England's discipline in San Marino win
10 October 2014, 08:19
London - England manager Roy Hodgson was delighted almost as much by his players' professional approach to dismantling San Marino 5-0 in their Euro 2016 Group E qualifier on Thursday as he was by the victory itself.
England finally ran out comfortable winners at Wembley against the joint-worst team in the world, but despite missing a flurry of chances and being frustrated for long periods by the visitors' blanket defending, Hodgson could only see the positives.
"They were difficult to break down in the first half but we knew that would happen if we didn't score the early goal but we kept plugging away and doing the right thing," he told a news conference after England made it two qualifying wins out of two.
"In the second half our passing tempo was a bit quicker but once you go 2-0 up and 3-0 up it gets harder for them to keep going. But it's job done, we got our points from this game and can now concentrate on our next game in Estonia."
He said he was especially pleased by the discipline England's players showed against San Marino, who have only won once in 124 internationals and who have now lost their last 65 successive qualifiers since 2001 conceding 300 goals.
England beat San Marino 5-0 and 8-0 in World Cup qualifiers in 2012 and last year but Hodgson was complimentary about them on Thursday.
"I thought they were a better team this year than they were last year and they are making strides forward, albeit as an amateur team it is going to take them a long while before they can beat the likes of us at Wembley, I hope anyway," he said.
"I don't think it was a question of respect. It was a question of us doing all the things that were important to us and that pleased me a lot."
England won with goals from Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, who scored from a penalty, Danny Welbeck, Andros Townsend and an own goal which took a deflection off a Rooney cross that Hodgson wanted to claim for his skipper.
"It was Wayne Rooney's all day long -- but we will have to see what UEFA says about that," he added.
Rooney's penalty meant he has now scored 42 goals for England and moved closer to Bobby Charlton's all time record of 49.
"I certainly won't be putting any pressure on him, he is only 28, he has many games and many more goals ahead of him I hope," Hodgson said.
Also read: Chelsea correct over Courtois - FIFA doctor
San Marino coach Pierangelo Manzaroli also took some positives from the occasion.
"The experience and pleasure of playing in such a fantastic stadium against a lot of fans was great," he said,
"Against teams of this stature, sometimes the results are worse. So we take that away. The first half was a great performance from us and, had we been a bit more careful, we might not even have conceded those goals."