Steven Gerrard has dismissed Branko Brnovic’s claims that England are ‘scared’ of Montenegro ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier.
The build-up to the clash has been littered with barbs from the Montengro camp, largely relating to the Three Lions’ last visit to Podgorica City Stadium during which Wayne Rooney was red-carded as his side let slip a two-goal lead.
Brnovic told reporters on Monday: “I read in the press statements from some English players about the way the pitch will look. This is something to support the fact they’re more scared of this game than we are.
“As far as I know, (Wayne) Rooney was the one who attacked our own player, not vice versa. And I know that both (Stevan) Jovetic and (Mirko) Vucinic always suffer strong kicks, but they never complain.
“And I can say that such English legends, and also journalists, are already trying to resort to excuses for what happens tomorrow. Everyone seems bothered.”
However, England captain Gerrard has since claimed that the 45-year-old’s comments show the hosts’ weaknesses.
“For their manager to say the things he’s said shows we’ve got them exactly where we want them,” Gerrard told reporters.
“They seem to be more interested in saying things and doing all the talking. Talking doesn’t win you football matches. Playing well wins you matches.
“I’m not really too interested in what got said in their press conference – or in ours to be honest. I’m more interested in how the lads train and how we play once the whistle goes and the match starts.
“As for saying we are a long-ball team, I think it is important to have a good mix, play the ball well short and have a plan B if you need to go more direct as well and I think this squad has certainly got that.”