I told the players there was no point blaming anybody. It’s a freak goal that we will never see again. It happens in football. You’ve just got to be strong enough to get on with it.
I had planned to rest Tomori for our final group game against South Korea, but I couldn’t do that now. He’d think I was leaving him out because of the own goal.
So he kept his place and I rested young Chelsea defender Jake Clarke-Salter instead. He was disappointed, but I explained that he hadn’t done anything wrong. I just had to change my thinking to help Fik.
If you’re honest with players, they might not like it – but at least I know I’ve done my side of it. Then it’s up to them how they deal with it.
Tournament football can be brutal. In the last-16 game against Costa Rica, we had an issue with players who weren’t starting. A bit of head loss. They weren’t with the rest of the group.
So, after the game, we got them together on the pitch and said: “We’re not going to win this with ability alone. The only way we’re going to do it is with 21 players, so let’s all get together.”
“Everybody has this perception of English football being a bit blood and guts. They don’t realise we have got good, technical footballers”
In the quarter final, we beat Mexico 1-0. When I watched the game back later that night, I spotted something: the minute we scored, every single member of the squad jumped off the bench. They were all celebrating together. That was a big moment for me.
Everyone’s together. We’re in it now. We’ve got a really good chance.
Our performance in the semi final against Italy showed me that we had more than a good chance. It showed me that we deserved to win the World Cup.
The game plan was to be patient. We knew Italy would be difficult to break down. The players watched clips of every other team getting frustrated against them, resorting to striking balls from 30 or 40 yards out.
Italy scored just two minutes into the game, but it didn’t affect the players. They were clear in their minds what the plan was, and remained patient. Moving the ball side to side. Showing Italy how to play football. We ran out 3-1 winners. I thought we were outstanding.