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Hodgson defends drab England display

ESPN staff
September 3, 2014 « McIlroy: Europe must manage expectations | Botham: Players are slaves to the IPL »
Roy Hodgson: "I thought we were quite good" © PA Photos
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Roy Hodgson has defended England's limp display in the 1-0 win against Norway - and warned fans not to expect his side to take the game to Switzerland on Monday.

Wayne Rooney's 68th-minute penalty was enough to secure victory in front of a record-low attendance of 40,181 at the new Wembley.

The captain's strike was just one of two shots on target for the hosts, though Hodgson said the performance was "quite good".

When the statistic was put to Hodgson, he said: "Don't give me that one.

"Two shots on target? What about all the ones they threw themselves in front of... Don't hit me with statistics.

"When we had that much possession, and you talk about two shots on target? We're not scoring a lot of goals, but we're not playing against teams who come out against us a lot.

"This team will score goals. They'll score goals. Rooney will score goals. [Danny] Welbeck will score goals.

"Switzerland will need to beat us. If anything, we might be Norway on Monday. We might be pushed back and can't attack and dominate for long periods, as we did today."

Despite the uninspiring display, Hodgson believes the fans won't stay away from Wembley for long.

"If the team works as hard as they did tonight, show the appetite and desire, and the aggression in the defending, show the exciting moves that were there for all to see, the crowd aren't foolish. They know what they're seeing," said Hodgson.

"They'll come back to see [Raheem] Sterling, [Daniel] Sturridge and [Jack] Wilshere. These players have the potential to lead us forward and excite football crowds. Although I risk being in a group of one, I have been watching football for a long time and nothing you say will change what I see."

Rooney's strike was his 41st international goal and took him to fourth in England's all-time goalscoring charts, with just Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves ahead of him.

"We all could have done better but it's a night where it was important to win," said Rooney.

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