Boothroyd refusing to give up hope after disappointment for City trio and U21s

England manager Aidy Boothroyd on the touchline during the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship

England U21s manager Aidy Boothroyd on the touchline during his team's loss to Portugal - Credit: PA

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd isn't interested in whether his job is on the line after successive defeats, as he calls for focus on the slim chance of European Championship progression.

The Young Lions' group stage campaign started with a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in Slovenia on Thursday, with Norwich duo Max Aarons and Oliver Skipp playing the full game.

Aarons was on the bench on Sunday evening against Portugal though, as former Watford boss Boothroyd switched from a 3-4-3 formation and played Tottenham's fit-again defender Japhet Tanganga at right-back in a 4-2-3-1 shape.

Spurs loanee Skipp played the full game but lost the ball in the lead up to a superb finish for Portugal's opener in the second half, ahead of a contentious penalty, as England lost 2-0 without having a shot on target - with Aarons and City colleague Todd Cantwell unused substitutes.

England's Oliver Skipp reacts after the final whistle during the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Champio

Disappointment for Norwich City midfielder Oliver Skipp at full-time as the England U21s lose to Portugal in Slovenia - Credit: PA

"My view is, I'm here to do this tournament and we are disappointed. We have some hope so while there is hope we have to go after it," said Boothroyd, who is out of contract this summer.

"That's what I have to do, not consider my future but the immediate future and see if we can get a result against Croatia.

"It does hurt because you always want to win, I have to do my job, pick the lads up, pick the staff up and go again.

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"It's still mathematically possible. We wanted to go into the final game with it still in our hands but unfortunately it's not."

The Young Lions must now beat Croatia by two goals on Wednesday (5pm) and hope that group leaders Portugal do the same against Switzerland, to qualify for this summer's knockout stages.

Boothroyd's squad were rampant in qualifying, scoring 34 goals as they won nine and drew one of their 10 games, but have flopped at the tournament stage - as they did two years ago as well.

"Considering the amount of goals we scored leading up to this, it was a real strength of this group. To not have a shot or a real threat is something we need to rectify for the next game," the Young Lions' boss continued, speaking to Press Association Sport.

"This should be about the team, the players who got us here, the players who have done very well.

"It hurts a lot and I'm affected by it. It's mathematically possible, we have to go out and get a good result. You have to make sure you bounce back when things go wrong."

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