SKIPPER Steven Gerrard and goalscorer Wayne Rooney pulled no punches about England’s below-par performance in their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Poland in Warsaw.
England top Group H by a point from Montenegro, who have a game in hand, heading into the five-month winter break from competitive international action.
However, Rooney admits England have to improve on their showing against the Poles if they are to qualify for Brazil 2014 while Gerrard conceded Roy Hodgson’s side were “not totally at the races” in today’s game.
Rooney, who scored his 32nd goal for his country, said: “It was a hard-fought point. It was a difficult game, a difficult pitch.
“We weren’t at our best but we dug in and got a draw.
“We know we can play better but this is a difficult place to come. It is a decent point.
“We knew it was a tough group, but we’re confident. We believe in ourselves and we believe we are the best team in the group, so we are confident of qualifying.
“Do England have to improve to qualify? Yes, of course. We know we can play a lot better than tonight but at least we got the point, so we can take that home.”
The game eventually went ahead after last night’s torrential rain left the pitch waterlogged.
Gerrard said: “It was difficult conditions and a difficult pitch but we can’t use that as an excuse.
“I thought Poland dealt with the conditions and played to the conditions slightly better than us. That’s the reason we didn’t get three points.
“The pitch was slippy, wet, cutting. I think it was laid a week and a half ago. So it wasn’t ideal.
“Both team tried to make the most of it and they did it better.
“We did okay until we scored but never built on the one-goal lead. We never passed the ball well enough, for whatever reason.”
Gerrard refused to use the 20-hour delay before the game went ahead for England’s poor showing.
He said: “When you’re fired-up, pumped-up, you’ve had your massages and you’re ready to go, that’s not ideal (when the game is called off).
“But we’re professionals. We’re playing at the top level and we had to get ourselves up for this but I didn’t think we were totally at the races.”