Gareth Southgate says he inherited a "mess" after England were lucky to leave Slovenia with a point in their World Cup qualifier.

The U21 boss was parachuted in for the final four fixtures of 2016 after Sam Allardyce left his role as England manager two weeks ago.

Southgate’s reign started with a 2-0 win over Malta before a fine Joe Hart performance secured a 0-0 draw in Ljubljana on Tuesday.

Despite that, Southgate was pleased to keep World Cup qualification on track, with England two points clear at the top of Group F, especially after what has been a whirlwind fortnight.

I can’t thank the players and support team enough for the backing I have had, Southgate said. The four points from the position we were in last Tuesday … we wanted six, we would have liked to have scored more goals in the two games.

But we have taken over a mess really and had to steady the ship. With the overall objective of qualifying, we have kept the team on track.

The overall objective is to qualify so, long-term, that could be an important point. Everyone can see we could be better, but their chances came from our mistakes or set pieces.

Southgate has called for the players to cut out mistakes and show a more clinical edge when they reconvene next month. A friendly against Spain follows a mouth-watering qualifying clash with Scotland at Wembley on 11 November.

We can play better, for sure. The opportunities they had were self-inflicted. That’s an area that clearly needs to be better. On a difficult pitch our final ball could have been better.

We had a couple of chances that, on another day, our forwards might have finished. We owe our goalkeeper for an outstanding performance.

Would I have been happy with a point before the game? No. But it is a very important point in the context of qualifying from the group.

Frustrations boiled over late on in the game, with Jesse Lingard reacting angrily to Aljaz Struna in an incident that saw both players booked.

I’m told it was just he’s reacted to someone raising their hands at Marcus [Rashford], Southgate said.

That’s something he has got to cut out because there’s a danger you get a red card in this sort of game, where there’s inconsistencies in a lot of the decisions then there’s even more of a risk.

(c) Sky News 2016: I inherited a mess, says Southgate