England manager Roy Hodgson admitted that his team had lost valuable momentum after losing 2-1 to the Netherlands in their final game before he announces his Euro 2016 squad.
Hoping to build on Saturday’s rousing 3-2 win over world champions Germany in Berlin, England took a 1-0 lead in Tuesday’s friendly at Wembley through Jamie Vardy, only for a Vincent Janssen penalty and a disputed Luciano Narsingh strike to give Holland victory.
England face a wait of two months before their next three friendlies – at home to Turkey, Australia and Portugal – and Hodgson said that they would need to use those games to re-build belief.
“Whenever you have two very good victories and then you lose a game, momentum is lost,” said Hodgson, whose side had won 2-0 at home to France in November.
“I don’t know what I can say to change that pretty obvious fact. But tonight (Tuesday) was a different team to the one that played against France and Germany.
“A lot of players were playing today who hadn’t played many games of late, so the task for them was obviously a little bit harder. But there are plenty of games to get our momentum back.
“We have three further preparation games before we go to France, so there’s plenty of opportunity to regain momentum and learn lessons from tonight’s defeat.”
Hodgson, who names his Euro 2016 squad on May 12, added: “I think I will find lots of positives from this week and things that I’m glad to have seen.
“Going forward it will make us stronger and make my task somewhat clearer when it comes to choosing the players that I need to take with me to France.”
Hodgson made eight changes to the team that had vanquished Germany, which included a debut for Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater and a first start in 18 months for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
Vardy tapped in Kyle Walker’s cross in the 41st minute, but Janssen equalised from the penalty spot following a handball by Danny Rose early in the second half and then teed up substitute Narsingh for the 77th-minute winner despite appearing to foul Phil Jagielka in the process.
Hodgson complained about both decisions, branding the second one “exceptionally harsh”, but conceded that even victory would not have masked the shortcomings of a disjointed England display.
“I was more disappointed that we didn’t reach the level of intensity or creativity that we did on Saturday night (against Germany),” he said.
“Our domination of the ball didn’t lead to enough goal chances, so that disappointed me most.”
Victorious manager Danny Blind paid tribute to the supporters at a sold-out Wembley after they rose in unison during a minute’s applause for Dutch great Johan Cruyff, who died last week at the age of 68.
Cruyff won both his first European Cup as a player with Ajax and his only European Cup as a manager with Barcelona at Wembley, in 1971 and 1992, and Blind felt that the ovation had been a fitting tribute.
“I think it was a great moment,” said Blind, who played under Cruyff at Ajax.
“The audience was fabulous and that’s what he deserved. He had great results here, on this ground.
“With Ajax in 1971, he won the first (European) Cup and later with Barcelona he won the Champions League. So it was very special.”
With Holland having failed to qualify for Euro 2016, Blind said that results such as Tuesday’s win would help to convince their supporters that they are on the right path.
“Of course we needed a good result, because we’re still disappointed that we can’t go to France this summer,” he said.
“We needed this win for the group, for the staff, but also to get some good will back for the people of Holland.”
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport