Hodgson aware of Moldova threat

England manager will not use pitch as an excuse

England respecting Moldova

Roy Hodgson: Knows his players must prepare well for Moldova challenge

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Roy Hodgson is expecting a tough test in Moldova and insists his England team will not be underestimating their opponents.

England travel to Chisinau as strong favourites in their opening World Cup qualifier but Hodgson realises his team will need to approach the game properly if they are to begin the campaign with three points.

It has emerged that the Moldovan players will earn a significant bonus if they can even draw Friday's game but Hodgson believes his own players need no extra motivation.

"That's international football these days," said Hodgson.

"It doesn't matter who you are playing you know that if you don't prepare for a game against a well-organised and well-disciplined side that will work very hard to stop you scoring then you're not preparing properly.

"So we are aware of that and we're also aware from the games we've studied that they're also a team that are capable of playing very well and causing problems so we won't underestimate them.

"Their bonus system is their bonus system and we have our own fish to fry. You can argue those things and debate those things as much as you like.

Naive

"Obviously if you can come in at half-time with a healthy lead everyone would like that but it's naïve to think that's going to happen.

"We're well aware that a very strong Holland team only won here 1-0 and only won away 1-0.

"So if they can hold Holland on two occasions to a 1-0 victory then what we've got to do is to make sure we get our victory.

"And if it comes with an early goal or a late goal then it's of no consequence to me.

"At the moment goal difference doesn't come into it, the most important thing at the moment is to try and get points on the board and get off to a good start in this qualifying campaign."

A further complication for England's players is the possibility of a sub-standard pitch but the England boss does not think that can be regarded as an excuse.

"We haven't seen the pitch yet and quite frankly we haven't spoken about it either, at least not as a group," he added.

"We'll see what the pitch is like tonight (Thursday) but I'm pretty sure I've got an experienced group of players who have played on many pitches all over the world and I really don't envisage any particular problems there.

"But it's up to us to deal with whatever playing surface. I'm sure the Moldovan national team want to play on the best pitches possible also."