The Liverpool full-back echoed the mood of some fans when he refused to shirk his share of the blame for Friday night’s damaging defeat to Russia, stating he was annoyed with his own performance and “what the rest of the lads did”. Or didn’t.
The fact that Robertson, pictured, recently became the first ever Scot to be nominated for the FIFPro World XI has given him elevated status but Mulgrew maintains that a sense of realism is required when comparing performances when surrounded by multi-million pound superstars and the limitations any player faces when competing for a nation that has failed to deliver on the European or World stage since 1998.
“There is a lot of pressure on Robbo because he is a Champions League winner. He is captain of the country as well, but he handles pressure week in and week out for Liverpool. It was similar to when we had Darren Fletcher in the team when he was at Manchester United. People expected him to perform miracles and it is the same with Robbo. But it is up to us to reach the level to help Robbo, it isn’t his responsibility to do it himself. I am sure if we all do our jobs then he can shine. Robbo is a top player and we are glad to have him.”
But, having failed collectively to get the points needed to realistically keep the dream of qualifying for Euro 2020 from Group I alive, there was collective dismay in the dressing room as players.
“We had to win this game. It was a must win and we wanted to get the victory. We felt we could do that, even though Russia are a good side. We have to respond now against Belgium. It was always going to be difficult in this group with the likes of Belgium and Russia in it. We are disappointed with ourselves,” added the Wigan defender, who had a decent performance as he debuted a new partnership with Liam Cooper.
“It is early days for the manager and he is trying to find the best people to play. It doesn’t change the fact that we made a good start but we didn’t continue it.
We need to pick ourselves up now and go again against Belgium. We can’t dwell on the Russia game, it isn’t easy but we have to do that and respond.”