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Southgate: England players will be stronger after racism in Bulgaria

9:09 am AEDT 16/10/19
Gareth Southgate England
The Three Lions manager said his players have come through a trying 72-hour period extremely well

England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed his players' resolve after a trying two-match period for the Three Lions. 

England were defeated 2-1 by the Czech Republic on Friday in a Euro 2020 qualifier before dealing with racism from Bulgaria supporters in another qualifier on Monday. 

The Three Lions won Monday's game in Sofia 6-0, but the evening was marred by monkey chants from home fans at the Vasil Levski National Stadium before and during the match.

After an announcement was made over the stadium's loudspeaker for fans to stop, the game was briefly delayed.

Southgate's side considered abandoning the match after half-time but after speaking it over in the dressing room, England decided to come out to play the second half. 

After a testing period for his side, Southgate has said that his players have come through the experience well. 

“The way they dealt with everything because a lot of our young players haven’t experienced, from Friday night, the fallout of a difficult, poor England performance which is unique, compared to the clubs," Southgate said.

"So, managing the group through that; their response to that was excellent. Their focus and preparation for the game was excellent.

“The job is a remarkable one in terms of the breadth of what you have to deal with. I can’t think of too much that’s like it. We’ve had to go through an incredible amount in 72 hours – football, non-football, everything else.”

Southgate added that the difficult spell for his side has actually seen them come out stronger than they were before.

"Then, tonight [there was] something completely different for them all to deal with but we knew tonight was enough experience for a multitude of reasons.

"So, again, the response, their focus, the way that they played throughout the stoppages in the game and back into it was remarkable. So, bizarrely, I think they’ve actually gained strength from the experience.

“They shouldn’t have had to go through that. But I think in terms of the way they dealt with it, I don’t think they could have done it in a more impressive manner.”

UEFA formerly opened disciplinary proceedings against both teams on Tuesday, with Bulgaria cited for racism, while Bulgaria's FA president Borislav Mihaylov resigned from his post.