England’s new regime under Steve McClaren has come under fire from Macedonia midfielder Artim Sakiri, who has claimed they were ‘easier opponents than Andorra’.
The criticism follows England’s dismal 0-0 draw against Macedonia in Saturday’s Euro 2008 qualifier at Old Trafford.
Sakiri, who was on the bench for the game, said: “It is easier to play against England than Andorra.
“Andorra played with 11 players 20 yards from goal and just kicked the ball away. England had confidence at the start but saw it wasn’t as easy as they thought. I was expecting more attacking play from them.”
Sakiri was in the Macedonia team beaten 1-0 by Andorra in a World Cup qualifier two years ago.
He added: “I don’t know if they will qualify for the European Championships. If they play like that again they will struggle. They have to do better. The game in Croatia will be very tough.”
“I felt England were under pressure because they were at home and needed to win the game whereas we had nothing to lose and just went out and played good football.
“We made England look ordinary and we actually wanted to get three points but it was a fair result.
“The confidence of England was big at the beginning of the game but, after that, our confidence got higher because the players saw it was easier than they thought it was going to be over here.
“I was expecting more attacking-wise from England. They were a bit predictable and Wayne Rooney struggled in this game after being away from the national team for the past few games.”
“What I will say is if they again play like that, England will struggle to qualify. They have to do something else because that performance really was not very good.”
The result has ended McClaren’s brief honeymoon period in charge of the England team. He must now take his misfiring team to Zagreb to face Croatia on Wednesday in what is arguably England’s toughest match of the group.