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Radio 5 Live's Alan Green
Post-match summary from Malta
 real 28k

Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Keegan disappointed but upbeat
Richard Wright
The ball bounces in off Richard Wright's head
Kevin Keegan was disappointed after England's poor performance against Malta but hoped it was just a blip that they have got out of their system.

"It was a difficult game for us in the end. I said to the players that if we got sloppy then these teams can have you.

"The keeper made a few good saves and we were always going to create chances.

Kevin Keegan
Keegan forces a smile despite England's performance
"We got a goal and then gave away a goal. It was a harder game than perhaps we thought but I'd sooner get a performance like that out of the way," he said.

"People will say if we play like that we can't win Euro 2000. We are better than that. It was just a little stutter hopefully. We are a better team than Malta.

"We will go with a fit 22 but we have to play better," he said.

Richard Wright's debut was clearly a disappointment but Keegan was keen to pick out the good points: "Goalkeeping is about making decisions and sometimes you get them wrong.

"It wasn't as bad as it could have been. His handling and kicking were good. It's a learning curve," said the England manager.

Keegan was also full of praise for Nick Barmby who may have played himself into the starting line-up for England's opener against Portugal.

It was disappointing but it's not the end of the world. Don't give up

Kevin Keegan
"Barmby thoroughly deserved man of the match. He was tidy, never gave the ball away. He stayed on for 90 minutes and it was tough work out there."

Overall Keegan was keen to remain positive: "It was disappointing but it's not the end of the world.

"We will do our very, very best. It wasn't there today but I think it will be in the tournament. Don't give up."

Apart from the performance, Keegan will also be concerned about the condition of Alan Shearer, who went off after landing awkwardly when going up for a header.

But Shearer played the problem down: "My knee was a little bit sore but hopefully it's not too much to worry about.

"I landed on it when I went up for a header; coming off was a precaution. It's not too bad, I have a couple of days off so I will be resting up."

It was always going to be hard, teams like Malta can't be taken lightly

Nick Barmby
Nick Barmby was clearly pleased with his own performance but wasn't going overboard:

"It was always going to be hard. Teams like Malta can't be taken lightly.

"I am just enjoying it, just getting my head down. I am happy to play on any side, left or right.

"The spirit in the camp is fantastic, and everyone is looking forward to the European Championships."

Richard Wright was clearly very unhappy with his debut: "I was very disappointed. I have given away a few penalties recently and have been unhappy with the way they were conceded.

"Fortunately we got away with it. I am glad my first game is out of the way and I can concentrate on being part of the squad."

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See also:

03 Jun 00 | England
Close shave for shaky England
03 Jun 00 | England
Malta v England: Clockwatch
03 Jun 00 | England
Hughes warns of Portuguese threat
04 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Malta 1-2 England in pictures
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