We just stopped playing: Gerrard
Skipper Steven Gerrard admits England paid the penalty for lacking the killer instinct against group leaders Montenegro in a World Cup qualifier in Podgorica on Tuesday night
It left the midfielder acknowledging that Roy Hodgson’s side may have to win all four of their remaining matches to ensure they top the table and book a place in the 2014 finals in Brazil.
England deservedly led at half-time through Wayne Rooney’s 35th goal for his country as he netted for the fourth successive qualifier.
But Montenegro dominated the second period and deserved their equaliser from substitute Dejan Damjanovic 14 minutes from time.
It keeps them two points ahead of second-placed England who have had to settle for draws against all of their main challengers in Poland, Ukraine and Montenegro.
Gerrard said: “We’re still confident we can finish top of the group.
“We need to win all our games, we certainly need to improve on that second-half performance, and play like we did first half.
“We certainly need to get three points when we go to Ukraine and we need perfect results at home (against Moldova, Montenegro and Poland).”
Gerrard concedes England cannot afford to switch off in the manner they did during the second period when Montenegro dominated possession.
He continued: “I think there was a lot of experience out there and I think during the first half we showed that. We controlled the game.
“The problem is at 1-0 you’re always vulnerable. You’ve got to go on and get the second goal to get complete control and we never did that.
“We stopped playing after the break for 20 or 30 minutes and, away from home, you just can’t afford to do that.
“We stopped passing the ball, and that’s when we lost control, and I think they deserved the equaliser.”
Gerrard provided the cross for Rooney’s headed goal and he became the first England player to score in four qualifiers on the trot since David Beckham in 2003.
It was a happier scenario than when Rooney was sent off on his last appearance in the stadium 17 months ago.
But sustained pressure led to Damjanovic, who was introduced at the start of the second half, poking the ball past Joe Hart from close range for the equaliser.