Gareth Southgate happy with England draw at Slovenia after inheriting 'mess'

Gareth Southgate acknowledged England could have done better following a goalless draw against Slovenia but the caretaker manager told ITV he was satisfied with a point having inherited "a mess."

England under-21 boss Southgate was put in temporary charge of the senior side after Sam Allardyce's departure and oversaw a 2-0 World Cup qualification victory against Malta at Wembley and a 0-0 draw away to Slovenia.

"I can't thank the players and the support team enough for the backing I've had," he told ITV Sport. "I think [having taken four points] from the position we were in last Tuesday, we wanted six and we'd have liked to have scored more goals in the two games but we've taken over a mess really and had to steady the ship so with the overall objective of qualifying we've kept the team on track."

The result leaves England two points clear at the top of Group F and he added: "The overall objective is to qualify so long-term maybe that is a point that will be important towards that.

"I think everybody could see that we could have been better. The chances that they had were set-plays or mistakes, so that's something that needs to be better. Having said that, some of those mistakes, we were trying to play on what was a very difficult surface and we want to encourage the boys to play but they've got to play sensibly at times as well."

When pressed on whether he now wanted the job full-time, Southgate said: "I am going to have a couple of days now to go and sleep."

Southgate singled out Joe Hart for praise following the point in Ljubljana and said he had advised the Manchester City goalkeeper, currently on loan at Torino, that he was at his best when he is "calm and composed."

"I had a long chat with him earlier in the week just to talk about what does he looks at his best," Southgate said . "The two words he started with were 'calm and composed' and I thought that's what he has been in the two matches we've had.

"His decision making has been excellent, his use of the ball with his feet has been very, very good.

"And, you know, two or three of his saves tonight were absolutely outstanding, so I think he showed the level that he's capable of. He was top, top class."

Frustrations boiled over as the match came to a close, with Jesse Lingard reacting angrily to Aljaz Struna in an incident that saw both players booked.

"I'm told it was just he's reacted to someone raising their hands at Marcus [Rashford]," Southgate said. "That's something he has got to cut out because there's a danger you get a red card in this sort of game, where there's inconsistencies in a lot of the decisions then there's even more of a risk."

Slovenia counterpart Srecko Katanec also downplayed the incident, saying "it's a part of the game, the guys were a little tense," and preferred to focus on his side's impressive display.

"I am very happy with the way the guys performed," the Slovenia coach said. "We fought hard to get this point and maybe we deserved even more. We had a few 100per cent chances that didn't connect and we needed just a little bit more luck."