England manager Sam Allardyce says his side deserved to win after Adam Lallana’s late goal sealed a late 1-0 victory over Slovakia in their opening World Cup 2018 Qualifier. It took the Three Lions until the 95th minute to breach a sturdy home defence, with the Liverpool midfielder nabbing his first ever goal for his country at senior level.Slovakia were also reduced to 10 men after Martin Skrtel was sent off for two yellow cards, with England leaving Trvana with all three points much to the delight of the new boss. I don’t think there was any doubt that we deserved it,” said Allardyce. “I think this time compared to last time, we won 1-0 which is what matters in the end in front of our own fans who were desperately waiting for that goal. We finally got it and we all celebrated, rightly so after that performance. “We totally dominated the game in what everyone is telling me is one of the most difficult games to play here in Slovakia, their record is very, very good. “We definitely had to go and win it when they went down to 10 men. We did it and in the end, we made hard work of it by the chances that we missed and with the referee making a bit of a mistake on Theo Walcott’s goal because it came off their defender. It could’ve been a little easier but we got there in the end.
“I think being a little bit patient was the key in the end for us to win the game and not to get too anxious because they’re going to stick nine men behind the ball when they go down to 10 men and say ‘come on, break us down’.
“They were defending very, very deep and very stoutly but in the end we broke that down several times. I was getting a little bit worried, I must admit that we were wasting our chances but finally we got one in.”
Wayne Rooney set another England record when he earned his 116th cap – the most of any outfield player – and played the game in midfield despite Allardyce’s claims he wouldn’t play there when taking the job a few months ago.
“He played a little deeper when we brought Dele Alli on and played not quite as deep when we had Jordan Henderson on as they were supposed to take it in turns to break forward but Wayne finds the space.
“I can’t tell him where to run because he’s been one of the best his whole career at finding good space, promoting good passing forward and creating chances. Yes, we want to get him in goal scoring positions a bit more but today it doesn’t matter because we’ve won 1-0.”
Allardyce now joins a list including his predecessor Roy Hodgson, Sven Goran Eriksson and Kevin Keegan of the last nine permanent England managers to win their opening game, although the current boss admits there is work to do.
He said: “I did think the win might not happen for me. We were coming into the final throes of the game and when you’ve heaped so much pressure on the opposition and not put the ball in the back of the net, it’s something that when we get together next time, we will do a little bit more work on it.
“Having so many chances again and not converting them enough, it’s something that I’m going to emphasise to the players that we’ve got to get a little bit better at, at this level of football.”
Source: Sky Sports