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Published: 08:35 | 12/10/16

Southgate: We took over a mess

England interim manager Gareth Southgate admits he inherited 'a mess' after his side's 0-0 draw with Slovenia on Wednesday night.

Southgate was appointed caretaker manager following Sam Allardyce's shock departure last month and he has collected four points from a possible six in his first two games at the helm.

Having defeated Malta at Wembley on Saturday, the Three Lions were held to a goalless draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Slovenia with goalkeeper Joe Hart pivotal in securing the point in Ljubljana.

England remain top of Group F and Southgate has paid tribute to the players for sticking together in the wake of Allardyce's sacking.

"I can't thank the players and support team enough for the backing I have had," Southgate said.

"The four points from the position we were in last Tuesday... we wanted six, we would have liked to have scored more goals in the two games.

"But we have taken over a mess really and had to steady the ship.

"With the overall objective of qualifying, we have kept the team on track."

Southgate believes there is room for improvement and has thanked Hart for producing a number of brilliant saves to deny Slovenia a goal.

"We can play better, for sure. The opportunities they had were self-inflicted. That's an area that clearly needs to be better," Southgate told ITV.

"I think on a difficult pitch, our final ball a couple of times could have been better and we had a couple of chances that, on another day, I think our forward players would finish.

"And we owe our goalkeeper for an outstanding performance to keep the clean sheet.

"I think if you had said to me before the game would I have been happy with that result? No.

"But in the context of the way the game went, the way we started both halves and given the overall objective of qualifying from the group, I think it's a very important point."

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