Gareth Southgate described Lukas Podolski’s farewell goal for Germany as a “fairytale,” but insisted it would not overshadow the positives from England’s 1-0 defeat against the world champions in Dortmund.
Podolski, 31, marked his 130th and final appearance for Germany with a 30-yard strike as Joachim Low’s team inflicted the first defeat on Southgate since he succeeding Sam Allardyce as manager earlier this season.
But although Podolski’s goal stole the headlines, Southgate claimed that the manner of England’s performance was one to provide optimism for the road ahead.
“Normally fairytales don’t happen in football, but it did for him [Podolski],” Southgate said. “It was an outstanding achievement by him to win so many caps and score so many goals [for Germany].
“The goal was a wonderful strike and I’m sure we will look back at how we could have closed it down, but it was unstoppable for Joe Hart.
“We obviously won’t spend too much time thinking about it, but I was pleased for Lukas.
“It is never nice to lose and I’m not usually over-positive if I have been defeated, but I have to be really positive with how the players performed.
“Their ability to adapt quickly to the change of system was excellent and, up until the goal, we were the better side.
“I am very pleased with what we learned, we just missed the finish because we should have won really.”
England played with a three-man defence for the first time since October 2006 and the system was another positive ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley.
And Southgate admitted that the majority of the work on the system took place away from the training pitch due to the lack of time he and the squad had to adjust to the new-look defensive line-up.
“I decided six weeks ago that I would do it having watched videos of Germany and seeing them live last summer,” Southgate said. “But we had to be creative in how we did it.
“We couldn’t train on the field too many times, but we were able to walk through it in meetings and on the tactics board.
“A few of the players have played it before or use it at their clubs, so it wasn’t an alien system. And within it, I thought Michael Keane had an excellent debut.
“It’s a great option for us to have and it is important we have the adaptability to do it.”
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