Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he did not have to lift the morale of his England players after they returned to training following a disappointing Euro 2016.
Roy Hodgson’s side exited the tournament in the last-16 to minnows Iceland, but their three-week break has allowed James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge to get over the shock.
“They had three weeks’ holiday and they came back pretty well recovered,” said Klopp.
“Of course we spoke about the European Championship but I told them my view.
“When we spoke in general about English football in this tournament I thought it was really good.
“Until England left the tournament they didn’t play worse than Portugal, for example, but they didn’t have the time for development Portugal had.
“So it was not that I had to give them back the optimism. They came back (after) three weeks, it’s how national players have to do it, and it was not that disappointing.”
The England contingent are likely to feature in Saturday’s friendly against Barcelona at Wembley but Klopp also offered some hope to winger Lazar Markovic.
He spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce until a hamstring injury curtailed his campaign and he returned this summer with a point to prove after just one disappointing season in a Reds’ shirt since his £20million move from Benfica.
Markovic was one of the players not expected to survive Klopp’s clear-out but that may not be the case.
“Everyone knows that Lazar is a very quick player but he was not at 100 per cent (in pre-season training) and there was some doubt as to how it would be,” the manager added.
“Since then he became better and better and he is in much better shape.
“He’s a good boy and works hard. At the end we will have to see how we will build our squad.
“We have time until August 31 or maybe something will happen earlier, or something will happen on the 31st or something will never happen.
“There is no final decision in this moment. We need all these players for the games and our training sessions and he is part of it.”