Iceland 0-1 England: Gareth Southgate critical of Kyle Walker red and Joe Gomez after late win

Victor Palsson of Iceland shakes hands with Gareth Southgate, Manager of England after the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Iceland and England at Laugardalsvollur National Stadium on September 05, 2020 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

England boss Gareth Southgate gave an honest assessment of his teams' performance and said there was a clear lack of match sharpness in their 1-0 win over Iceland.

Gareth Southgate was critical of Kyle Walker's red card and England's defending for Iceland's late penalty after watching his side scrape a 1-0 win in their Nations League opener and insisted his players must learn from those mistakes.

Raheem Sterling proved to be the match-winner in Reykjavik, rolling home a penalty in the 91st minute, but England were fortunate to escape with all three points.

Walker had earlier been sent off when he received a second yellow card for a reckless lunge and Joe Gomez gave away a penalty moments after Sterling's strike, which was blasted over by Birkir Bjarnason.

"The sending off is then obviously a key moment because I felt we were even more in control in the second half," said Southgate.

"It's very difficult to win games of football at any level if you're down to 10 men. That's a lesson we have to learn. It was an unnecessary red card.

"And then another lesson we have to learn, because to invite the ball as we did and defend it the way we did [for Iceland's penalty] was really poor play. In the end we get away with it."

Despite being less than impressed with aspects of England's performance, Southgate accepted the game came in difficult conditions - with players still in pre-season training and short of match fitness and sharpness - and looked to take the positives ahead of Tuesday's trip to Denmark.

"It kind of sums the week up really, it's been so difficult to piece everything together and so many challenges," he said. "We leave here with a win, which was really important, some experience for some young players but obviously a bit flat because it feels that in the end we got away with it.

"We're going to have to assess everybody [ahead of the Denmark game] because it's not just the match sharpness [they're lacking] it's the actual training minutes for a lot of the guys as well.

"This would have taken a lot out of them. So we're going to have to assess freshness, what's the right approach for the game but at least we leave here with the win which gives us some momentum moving forward."
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