Date Posted: Monday, October 14, 2019 11:44 AM
Gareth Southgate credited England's players after they went through an "unacceptable situation" in Bulgaria, "having made everyone aware" of racism.
The Three Lions came in with a 6-0 win, but the main point of contention for the Euro 2020 qualifying round in Sofia went off the field as home fans subjected England's players to racist abuse.
England decided not to leave the field in protest and coach Southgate felt that the position was not only correct but effective.
"We know this is an unacceptable situation," he told ITV. “I think we were able to make two statements by winning the game, but we also raised everyone's awareness of this situation.
"The game has been interrupted twice and I know for some people it won't be enough but I think as a group we were in the process."
Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling was quick to use social media to condemn the abuse.
Retweeting a report in which Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov accused England of having a greater problem of racism than his own country, the Manchester City man commented: "Mmmmh … I'm not sure about this boss."
He added: “Feeling sorry for Bulgaria being represented by these idiots in their stadium. Anyway .. 6-0 and we came home, at least we did our job. Safe travel for our fans, you did well ”
Marcus Rashford also went to social media after the match, saying: “It's not an easy situation to play and shouldn't happen in 2019. Proud, we climbed above it to earn three points, but it needs to be eliminated.
“Grateful for the brilliant support from England. You fell behind as significantly as possible tonight and we are all very grateful. Have a nice trip home and be careful.
Bulgarian captain Ivelin Popov was spotted in a heated debate with a fan section near the tunnel while the rest of the players headed to the locker room at halftime.
Rashford added: “It was also said what the Bulgarian captain did at the break. Being alone and doing the right thing requires courage, and acts like this should not go unnoticed. "
– Tyrone Mings (@ OfficialTM_3) October 14, 2019
Tyrone Mings, one of the targets of the abuse, admitted that what should have been a special personal landmark was tarnished.
"It was a great occasion, I made my debut in England, but it was slightly overshadowed by some disappointing chants that were clear to hear on the pitch," he told ITV.
“I thought we showed a great response, a good union and finally let football talk.
"I hope the higher powers deal with the incidents that have happened, we couldn't do much more in the field."
Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov said he did not know Popov spoke to a group of fans at halftime, adding: "Probably because the fans were unhappy with the team's performance."