Gordon Strachan: Players to blame for Scotland struggles - Barry Bannan

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland in Trnava
Slovakia claimed their first win of the World Cup qualifying campaign against Scotland

Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan says the players need to take responsibility for dropping World Cup qualification points against Lithuania and Slovakia.

A 3-0 defeat in Trnava increased the pressure on manager Gordon Strachan following Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Lithuanians at Hampden.

Bannan says it is the players rather than the manager who should take the blame for the setbacks.

"It's our fault, we're the ones who are out there losing games," he said.

"We aren't thinking anything [about Strachan's future]. We're disappointed at the moment, we'll get ourselves back to our clubs and try to perform, then the next time we meet up we'll try to look at where we went wrong on this trip."

Bannan believes Scotland can still achieve their aim of at least a second-place finish in Group F despite taking only four points from their opening three games, and with their next match against England at Wembley on 11 November.

"Everybody's disappointed, as you can imagine, but there's only three points [between] us and England," Bannan said.

"We've made it tough for ourselves and we're going to have to get a result from somewhere and we're confident of doing that. We're disappointed with the last two results and the group's still wide open.

"We're still in there and it's going to be full of ups and downs. It's not over, all the teams are closely matched in this group. England dropped points in Slovenia and we dropped points in Slovakia."

Scots' form can change - Strachan

Bannan admitted the nature of the goals conceded to Slovakia were disappointing, because "they were avoidable. You don't mind losing to a wonder hit, but to lose goals that you know you don't have to lose hurts more".

Goalkeeper David Marshall described the concessions as "sloppy" but he was encouraged by Scotland's possession for spells in the opening half in Slovakia.

The Hull City keeper is adamant Strachan remains the right man to lead Scotland during the World Cup qualifying campaign, despite taking only one point from a crucial double-header.

"This early in the campaign it's silly to write us off," he said. "That's Slovakia's first win as well.

"I don't think there's anybody within the squad would want the manager to leave.

"It's a disappointing start, there's no doubt about that, but we just have to go and win our games.

"Slovakia have won one, we've taken four points so far, so we have to look at that as a positive and just keep going."

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