I'm glad they are booing the opposition! - Southgate jokes about Van Dijk jeers
Gareth Southgate joked he is glad England's supporters were booing opposition players rather than their own after Virgil van Dijk was jeered during the Nations League semi-final.
Five days on from lifting the Champions League trophy with club side Liverpool, Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk was targeted by England's travelling fans every time he touched the ball in Thursday's match in Guimaraes.
But rather than join any condemnation of his side's supporters, Southgate feels it can be considered a positive that opposition players are being singled out instead of his own men, as was the case during a World Cup qualifier in Malta in 2017.
"I'm happier they're booing the opposition now than when they booed our players when we started," he said ahead of Sunday's third-place play-off against Switzerland.
"We're making progress. Driving through the streets of Malta... if Virgil has to take a bit, fair enough."
Defender Joe Gomez has questioned the mentality of those who picked on his Liverpool team-mate, however, as it had no positive impact on England.
Gomez, an unused substitute in his side's 3-1 extra-time defeat, said: "I don't know where it was coming from. I hadn't see him do anything wrong. It doesn't pose much benefit for us as a team.
"We get on the ball and play the same way. I don't see the relevance with it. Maybe they were just following on. I don't think it affected us or the way we play as a team."