Gerrard targets top spot
England captain warns against complacency ahead of facing Ukraine
Last Updated: June 19, 2012 12:04am
Steven Gerrard: England only need a point to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2012
Steven Gerrard knows England cannot afford to begin thinking about the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 until they have taken care of business against Ukraine on Tuesday.
After an opening draw with France in Group D before last Friday's dramatic win over Sweden, Roy Hodgson's team only need one point to progress to the knockout stages.
It is a pleasant situation for England, having arrived at the tournament with an injury-hit squad, star player Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two games, and low expectations.
But the Three Lions will not be playing for a draw against co-hosts Ukraine in what will be a hostile Donetsk atmosphere, as they are well aware of the importance of winning the group.
Gerrard: Captain fantastic
England, France and Ukraine could all still finish at the summit of Group D and consequently grab the bonus of avoiding a probable last-eight meeting with defenind kings of Europe and world champions Spain.
And captain Gerrard said at a media conference on Monday that was broadcast on Sky Sports News: "The aim is always to finish top of the group.
"It is important we do not get ahead of ourselves and start worrying about who we can meet in the quarter-finals.
"There is a very important and very difficult job to do tomorrow night first. The aim is to win the game and see where that takes us."
Hodgson has been credited for returning a feel-good factor to the England squad after the disciplinarian days of predecessor Fabio Capello.
It has been suggested the atmosphere is more 'relaxed', but Gerrard said: "I think a better word to use is professional.
"The lads are working very hard. They are training very well. We are recovering very well.
"We have got an excellent team behind the main football team. It is a professional atmosphere. We are enjoying it, because we are playing well.
"It is important we try and build on the platform we have set for ourselves. The team is doing very well, but there is a lot of hard work ahead."