Gareth Southgate has admitted his England team suffered a reality check after falling to their first qualification defeat for 10 years against Czech Republic in Prague.
And England manager Southgate admitted his share of the blame, by conceding his change of formation was wrong and that he had picked players who have not been performing for their clubs.
Central defender Michael Keane and left-back Danny Rose came in for the most criticism, as goals from Jakub Brabec and substitute Zdenek Ondrasek secured a 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory for Czech Republic after Harry Kane had put England ahead from the penalty spot.
England last lost a qualifying game against Ukraine in 2009 and asked whether the shock defeat in Prague was a wake-up call, Southgate replied: “In terms of a wake up call, we have had a lot of plaudits, but there is a lot of work to be done to be a really top team – tonight was clear evidence of that.
“We have to respond in the right way, we have a couple of days to prepare and we have to reward our supporters with a better performance (against Bulgaria). There were not many positives. We accept defeat and accept we have to be better than we were.”
Southgate was forced to change formation at half-time after experimenting with a new set-up in the first half, while questions will be asked of his decision to stick with Keane and Rose who have been struggling for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.
“I always have to accept responsibility,” said Southgate. “We tried something to be more solid without the ball and that did not happen. We were poorer using the ball in the first half. That said at 1-1 we were able to change that, were better in the second half and we created chances to win the game.
“In terms of the players, there are players who are not playing well for their clubs. That is the situation we are in. We collectively have to accept the result, but as manager I have to accept the responsibility.”
Rose is now suspended for Monday night’s qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia and Southgate added: “It is clear we have to improve without the ball. Over a period of time it has not surprised us, we have spoken about it all week. We did not get the reaction we needed.
“It is not a time to look at individuals because we have to get back on track for Monday. We lose Danny Rose and after tonight we have to get a response. It is going to be an interesting couple of days because we have not had a result like that or a performance like that. We will learn a lot about ourselves over the next 48 to 72 hours. We have to respond in the right way.
“This is football. All the players in their careers and for us as coaching staff, football is all about responding to setbacks. We have not had many, so it feels more unpleasant and it is a while since we felt this way. That is the reality. To sail through the qualifying group without issues is unusual, we have to respond. I expect us to do that.”
England captain Kane said: "There's still stuff to work on for sure. We gave the ball away too cheaply and we'll have to go away and look at it. There's no need to panic and we'll go again on Monday.”