Bulgaria vs England racism in European Qualifier: Managers have their say
Last Updated: 18/10/19 4:21pm
Following the fall-out from Monday's incidents in Sofia, managers have shared their views with Sky Sports News and had their say on whether Gareth Southgate would have been justified in permitting his players to walk off the pitch in Sofia.
Jurgen Klopp: "We didn't speak about it, and the players didn't come up with it. I thought they dealt really well with the situation. After everyone spoke about it, it was like there was no game. Actually there was a game, and the players showed a sensational response on the pitch. You want to show the right reaction and can make them suffer in the right way.
"At the end it's not important who laughs first, it's important who laughs last and it was obviously the England players. There was no influence on the performance and the rest we don't have to speak [about], it's disgusting. Nobody wants to hear that and see that."
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Steven Gerrard: "I was very proud. I thought they handled themselves ever so well, Harry Kane showed immense leadership and Gareth as well. It was disgusting, it was a disgrace. I thought they did the right thing staying on and winning the game and proving a point that way. But I also thought they handled the protocol and their responsibilities out there unbelievably well.
"As an Englishman and an ex-player I was ever so proud. I have been in the position myself with Rhian Brewster with Liverpool U19s and I think the important thing at the time is to listen to the players and what they want to do and react from there."
Pep Guardiola: "I think UEFA made a step forward. They stopped the game twice or three times. Fight every day for this current situation. Everything we are doing or going to do to help to eradicate it is welcome. The players and manager are not alone, everybody is involved. Whatever we decide, we can do."
Brendan Rodgers: "I thought Gareth and his staff and players were great. They've made it clear that there's going to be a stance now. We've heard about sanctions but we've not seen them put in place. In this society, players should never have to be exposed to that.
"I was proud watching them, when I saw a group of young men fighting for their team-mates who were being abused. I felt proud watching it that this could be the beginning of a stance because we are trying to eradicate [it]. Hopefully, that can be the start. It's something that we can't stand for."
Frank Lampard on his own experience: "I travelled with England in certain parts of Europe and felt what we all felt, and maybe didn't speak about enough. I think the governing body and the organisations now have to make a big step, I don't think individual players should be relied on to be making steps.
"How England dealt with it, from manager through staff through players was something really good to see. It's not the end of the story but I think it shows that we are moving in the right direction and it must carry on."
Eddie Howe: "Personally I don't think I would have done [taken players off of the pitch]. I think playing the game and performing and showing your best abilities is the right way to answer any type of comments. I think the players want to play as well and I think that showed.
"It's just my opinion but I don't think you want to see the game stopped and almost allow that vile abuse to win, but it is a big topic of conversation and everyone will have a different opinion, that is just my thoughts."
Roy Hodgson: "I thought they were brilliant. I thought they did everything right. I don't know if anything more would have been gained by them coming off the pitch. When people are trying to upset you in that way by racially abusing you, in some ways you can't get a better way than England beating them like they did, but I don't think there would have been any more publicity."
Nuno Espirito Santo: "I think in football, the institutions and authorities have to do everything that they can to totally eradicate racism, but it is a social problem. But with the strength and visibility of football, I think all the things we can do to stop it, I support. Until the moment us as individuals don't stop it, it will continue. I hope and truly believe with the next generations it will be over."
Graham Potter: "I didn't watch the game to be honest but pretty much like everybody else [I think] it's sad, very sad. Unfortunately it is a society problem as much as it is a football problem but it is something we don't want to see of course. And of course as a club we are fully supportive of any campaign to educate and make sure we don't have to witness those type of events."
Ralph Hasenhuttl: "I think it's absolutely the right thing to show a very hard shoulder for racism. The only way to stop it I think is to be as hard as possible against clubs, countries or teams, if supporters show this habit it is something you have to be very, very hard against. Don't deny it, don't look away, look It straight in the eye and say, 'it is not okay, we must change it'. Because it is a platform where you can show this and we must be very strict and very hard to keep this out of the stadium."
Mauricio Pochettino discussing Harry Kane's conduct as captain in Sofia: "Of course when you're on the touchline you need to understand the players always have rights and it's difficult to be in their position, know how they feel when they suffer abuse like this. That's why I will always support my players.
"Harry handled everything perfectly, I want to congratulate him. He was calm, the situation was always under control. He showed great maturity in these situations which are not always easy to manage."
Dean Smith praised Tyrone Mings for making his England debut in such difficult circumstances: "He's come back here and trained, got on with things as normal and not really said too much about it. I can only sing his praises. When we go and look at players and speak to them we know what they're going to bring football-wise, but it's that personality, character that you're looking to find out about. Me and JT went to meet him and he impressed us. Having met him, brought him here on loan and signed him - we've seen him every day and it doesn't surprise me how he handled the whole situation. He's articulate, intelligent and a very good human being as well."