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McClaren: We share blame for soft goal

Steve McClaren has insisted England's defence must take collective responsibility for the horror goal which helped Germany on their way to a 2-1 friendly win at Wembley last night.

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson appeared most at fault as he palmed Bernd Schneider's cross straight into the path of Kevin Kuranyi, presenting the Germany forward with the easiest of tasks to level Frank Lampard's ninth-minute opener before Christian Pander's spectacular winner.

But McClaren refused to play the blame game, claiming there were other errors made in the build-up to the goal which proved equally costly.

'It may have been a mistake but there were two or three mistakes before that which we should not have allowed,' said the England coach.

'But this is not a night to publicly state anything at all about the team in the future.

'What you have to do with any performance is reflect on them and make decisions later on.'

McClaren did confirm he had decided to give Portsmouth veteran David James half a game before kick-off and Robinson's exit had nothing to do with his poor display in the opening period.

Nevertheless, after a string of mistakes, McClaren will surely be tempted to pull Robinson out of the firing line and restore James to his starting line-up for next month's vital Wembley Euro 2008 double-header with Israel and Russia which will go a long way to determining whether England reach next summer's championships in Austria and Switzerland.

So, McClaren, having declared his intention to make Wembley a fortress, has now seen his side fail to win on either of their two appearances on a ground where they will play four of their remaining five Group E fixtures.

A chorus of boos accompanied the final whistle, although at nothing like the level McClaren has previously endured during a difficult first 12 months in charge.

And, while obviously disappointed at the outcome, McClaren found plenty of positives to take out of the game, not least the performance of Michael Owen, who lasted almost an hour on his first start of the entire campaign.

'Germany at Wembley is a tough one for any player to come into,' observed McClaren.

'We know in two or three weeks' time, with games under his belt, he will be sharper.'

The performances of Micah Richards, who set up Lampard's first England goal in 12 months with an outstanding surge forward, and Joe Cole were other reasons for McClaren to take heart, while a late cameo from Shaun Wright-Phillips got a capacity crowd on its feet.

'It was a tough, hard game for us, which was ideal,' said McClaren.

'I was delighted with the majority of it. We created plenty of chances and on another night, we might have tucked them away.'