Roy Hodgson said he was always confident England could finish their Group E Euro 2016 qualifying campaign unbeaten after recording 10 wins in a row.
England beat Lithuania 3-0 on Sunday in Vilnius after Ross Barkley, a Giedrius Arlauskis own goal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain helped the visitors ease to another comfortable win.
The 68-year-old manager, who oversaw England’s disappointing World Cup 2014 group-stage exit in Brazil, insists he never lost faith in his squad.
“I did believe the team could go unbeaten. It was a big goal to set – perhaps too big in some respects – but something in me said they are good players here,” Hodgson said.
“If we play well, with focus and continue to try and get better, we could go through unbeaten. But qualification was the main thing. I would have been happy with six wins and four draws.
“It’s very hard to put in words the deception and disappointment you feel after working hard and preparing for a World Cup as we did, and then to go out after two games.”
The former Liverpool boss confesses the upcoming friendlies against tougher opposition may prove more telling.
“Some players coming back from injury will mean we’ll have a lot of competition for places,” Hodgson said.
“Hopefully also we’ll learn from the matches we’ll play now against Spain and France next – and then Germany and Holland – because those are teams who have shown they can do well in finals competitions.
“They are more likely to show up any defects in our game than we were able to see tonight.”
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