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England draw in Ukraine ‘solid’ but not ‘top-class’ admits Liverpool ace

England's Steven Gerrard acknowledges the crowd after the final whistle. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire England's Steven Gerrard acknowledges the crowd after the final whistle. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
10:39 PM

Captain Steven Gerrard felt it was a case of mission accomplished as England kept World Cup qualification in their own hands with a goalless draw in Ukraine.

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The point left Roy Hodgson’s men a point clear of both Ukraine and Montenegro at the top of Group H with home games against the Montenegrins and Poland still to come.

“I don’t think it was a top-class performance,” Gerrard told ITV. “Defensively we were solid and the result never looked in doubt.

“Before the game the challenge from the manager was let’s keep it in our hands, let’s make the two final games at Wembley - if we win them then we’re through.”

He added: “We’d like to create more. But sometimes if you’re too risky at places like this you can get undone at the back.

“It’s important to be defensively right first and foremost.”

England have yet to beat any of their direct competitors, their four wins in the group having come against San Marino and Moldova.

But Gerrard said: “We’ve got a better chance of doing that at Wembley. Going away from home to places like this is very difficult. They’re a good side.

“We always knew Ukraine were going to push us all the way. That seems to be the case. It looks like we’re going to have to do it the hard way.”

Gerrard feels England can be happier than Ukraine with the result.

“I think they’ll be disappointed because they know we’re capable of winning our two home games,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll get a few people back fit which will give us a bit more cutting edge going forward. We’re capable of getting this job done.”

Manager Roy Hodgson conceded it was a fair result and that his side had hardly set pulses racing.

“I don’t think we were that adventurous,” he said. “But it was for them to be adventurous, not us.

“Perhaps we didn’t have quite the quality we needed [up front].

“[But] had we thrown caution to the wind and come away with a 0-1, I don’t think we’d have got any thanks for that.”

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