The England captain is expecting the minnows to try and frustrate the Three Lions, and concedes the games against the smaller nations can be difficult due to the pressure
England captain Steven Gerrard has warned his team-mates that San Marino will do anything to try and stop them from scoring on Friday.
The 32-year-old thinks games against the smaller nations are a “lose-lose” scenario as the fans expect the team to beat their opponents in a dominant fashion.
Gerrard has been on the receiving end of the fans’ frustration when England finished the first half goalless against Andorra in 2007, and the Liverpool captain says he does not want to experience that again.
“When you’re in a situation like that, the pressure grows,” Gerrard told reporters. “You’re more tense and you’ve only got 45 minutes rather than 90.
“The pressure grows, the fans get frustrated which adds to the pressure. We don’t want to experience that again.
“We know we’re on a hiding to nothing. If we don’t win the game by more than three or four goals, we’ll get no credit, only criticism.”
According to the Fifa Ranking, only Bhutan and Turks & Caicos Islands are on the same level as San Marino, but Gerrard expects them to frustrate the Three Lions.
He added: “These games are difficult, different challenges and things we’re not used to. It’s going to be attack versus defence and we’ll have the majority of the ball.
“Their tactics are to frustrate and slow it down. Even at Wembley [when England won 5-0] we had possession and were creating chances, but we didn’t have the first goal until the half-hour mark.
“We know they’ll be happy to stop us and keep the score-line down.
“They’ll slow the game down, give stupid fouls, get on to the referee, do anything they can to stop us scoring.
“So it’s about us getting that breakthrough as early as we can. This is all about the tempo of our play, our approach and our professionalism.
“It’s important we don’t get dragged down to their level and what they want, to play slow and disrupt the game. If we play close to our level we will do the job.”