Gareth Southgate and John Stones both believe England should try to win their final World Cup Group G game against Belgium rather than seek a potentially smoother passage later in the competition.
Southgate’s team face Belgium on Thursday and both the manager and defender Stones think trying to maintain the approach that has seen them beat Tunisia and Panama is the best way forward.
Topping the group could see England possibly face harder opponents at the quarter-final stage but Southgate thinks his team should concentrate on winning every game.
The England manager said: “I think it’s a game everybody has been looking forward to. It’s nice going into that game we don’t need a result to qualify.
“We want to keep our momentum going and we want to keep winning football matches,” added Southgate during a live interview on the Lions’ Den programme on the England YouTube channel.
Despite his positive approach Southgate also sounded a note of caution.
He said: “We should always dream, we should always have dreams. We should also have humility because we have tougher games to come. We’ve not won a knockout game since 2006.”
During a video interview with Stones the Manchester City defender said: “I think we’ve got to keep that winning mentality going.
“We’ve definitely got to win and keep that winning run going. If you go into a game and think of maybe getting a draw it’s going to end badly. We’ve got to keep showing we are a winning team.”