England manager Roy Hodgson is adamant his side should be content with the 1-1 draw against Montenegro in their World Cup qualifier.
Hodgson’s men took the lead just six minutes in through a Wayne Rooney header and could have added to their lead in a first half which they dominated.
The hosts were undoubtedly the stronger side in the second half and deservedly earned a point through a close-range strike from Dejan Damjanovic.
Hodgson’s men escaped with a point despite an onslaught from the Montenegrins and the 65-year-old was pleased with the end result.
He told ITV: “I thought our first half was very good but we didn’t start the second half as well as we would have liked to and that gave them some encouragement.
“I thought we hung on well and we finished well. They had a good spell in the second half and robbed us of a victory but all things considered we shouldn’t be too disappointed with a draw here.”
The result leaves England two points shy of Group H leaders Montenegro and a mere four points ahead of Poland and Ukraine, both of whom have a game in hand.
England take on Poland and Montenegro at home and Hodgson believes that could play into his team’s hands in the final set of games.
“We’ve got three of our last four games at home and the contenders have got to come to us, so we’ll see how we go,” Hodgson said.
“The fact is it’s still in our hands. We play three of the last four games at home.”
England captain Steven Gerrard echoed his manager’s thoughts and believes they can still finish top of the group.
“We’re still confident we can finish top of the group. We need to win all our games and we certainly need to improve on the second half performance and play like we did in the first half,” he told the FA’s website.
“We need to go and get three points when we go to Ukraine and we need a perfect result at home.”
Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic was delighted his side responded to his half-time team talk, which he used to urge them to play with freedom.
“I told my players at half-time that they have nothing to fear from the England team,” he said.
“I told them they are not better than us. And they delivered.”