Strachan deflects questions about his future

LONDON • Gordon Strachan refused to discuss his future as Scotland coach, after a 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat by Slovakia that intensified the pressure on the 59-year-old.

This result, coupled with a 1-1 draw at home against Lithuania in Glasgow on Saturday, means Scotland have taken only four points from three World Cup qualifiers in Group F and lie in fourth.

"At this moment, the people I feel sorry for are the players. They put so much work in the last couple of games," Strachan said. "The second group I feel for is the supporters who have come here tonight. You feel for them... I am not sitting here thinking about myself."

When pressed on his own position, he was again circumspect.

"Right now it's how we look after them (the players). How do we speak to them on the bus going back? I can't get any more in terms of effort, I am happy with the response every time we get together," he said.

Reflecting on the Slovakia match, in which Robert Mak netted a brace before Adam Nemec completed the scoring, Strachan pointed to the referee's failure to award a free kick to Scotland in the lead-up to the opener.

"A decision goes against us. I thought, 'That's not fair on these guys. They are playing well and playing against a more physical side.' Just when we needed a break, it goes against us," he said.

"Then the second goal made a big difference. Slovakia went from being laborious to being strong."

Scotland's next game is at Wembley on Nov 11 against England.

In Group E, Robert Lewandowski struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give Poland a 2-1 home win over 10-man Armenia.

Poland took the lead when Armenia defender Hrayr Mkoyan turned a free kick from the left into his own net under pressure from Lewandowski. The visitors equalised via their Brazilian-born captain Marcos Pizzeli.

Poland are second in Group E on seven points from three games, behind surprise leaders Montenegro, who shocked Denmark 1-0, on goal difference.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2016, with the headline 'Strachan deflects questions about his future'. Print Edition | Subscribe