Roy Hodgson has dismissed suggestions England are ‘scared’ ahead of their crucial World Cup qualifier with Montenegro on Tuesday.
The build-up to the Group H clash has been dominated by snipes aimed at Hodgson’s side from the Montengro camp, largely related to their last meeting at Podgorica City Stadium in which Wayne Rooney was sent off as England let slip a two-goal lead.
In light of Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic’s belief that England will be ‘scared’ about their return to the hostile arena, Hodgson was surprised that his side were being underestimated.
“I should think it’s definitely mind games, I don’t think there’s too much doubt about that,” Hodgson told reporters.
“I don’t really have an opinion on that. I’m surprised that he thinks that defeat won’t hurt Montenegro. Most coaches feel that defeat hurts them at all levels of football.”
Hodgson added that England should be seen as favourites for the contest.
“If he’s suggesting we should accept the burden of being favourites to win the game then we’ll accept it, it’s not a problem for us,” the former Liverpool manager said.
“We’re confident, we think we’ve got good players, we’ll accept that responsibility.
“Anyway, quite frankly, whether you accept the responsibility or not it’s what happens during the 95 minutes tomorrow night that decides everything anyway. So whatever you say beforehand doesn’t make a great deal of difference.
“It’s what the players are going to do tomorrow evening kicking off at nine o’clock local time and finishing 95 minutes later.”