Euro 2012: Fabio Capello: ‘I am focussed to the game not the critics’

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Euro 2012: Fabio Capello: ‘I am focussed to the game not the critics’
There was a time, not so very long ago, when Fabio Capello was being favourably compared with Sir Alf Ramsey.
That may now stretch no further than the lack of animation from England’s current head coach when his team score a goal, in the same way that Ramsey sat rooted to his seat when Geoff Hurst scored that fourth goal on that July day in 1966. Stop there, it is only going to hurt.
The soothing of the latest collective national pain continued in the opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley. The phoney war, when the fans showed their disapproval at the abject display by England at the World Cup in South Africa, during the early stages of England’s previous friendly international against Hungary last month gave way to old habits.
England are back on the road to the Promised Land, hopefully without a detour to the land of the broken promises, and got off to a start that makes everything possible – including a better overall performance - after winning this match 4-0.
The one downside was the injury to Tottenham defender Michael Dawson, who faces an anxious wait to find out the extent of the knee injury he sustained during the second half.
In fairness to Capello, his lack of early movement may have had something to do with him barely having time to take his seat before Jermain Defoe’s first goal. Thereafter the Italian found time, and sometimes reason, to leave his seat and prowl the touchline through an England that looked assured at times, not so sure at others for a makeshift back four, but eventually got the job done well enough to ease the pressure that anything other than a win would have placed upon Capello’s future ahead of the away match with Switzerland in Basel on Tuesday.
Just as Capello gives little away when Defoe wrapped up the game with his hat-trick goal he was showing little as he spoke afterwards saying: “I am focussed to the game not the critics. It’s normal.”
He seemed happier talking about the match, saying of his team’s performance that it was “really good. The played the first minute very well, the players did on the pitch what I said when we prepared the game. The movement, the pressing – we win back the ball really quickly. And I’m really, really happy because I told you that the players trained very well and the spirit of the team was ok.”
The spirit of any team tends to hold up when they are scoring goals and partnership of Defoe and Wayne Rooney – not everyone’s cup of Darjeeling  just 90 minutes earlier – was suddenly the best thing since bread, sliced or otherwise, with Rooney providing the goals for his strike partner. “They are two fantastic players,” Capello said. “Four assists from Rooney, three goals from Defoe. They are really good players technically, fast, they were really good in every moment during the game.
“The movement without the ball, with the ball – I am really happy with the performance of these two forwards, but also with the performance of the other players.”
As for Defoe, he looked remarkably lively for a man who had been scheduled to be lying on a surgeon’s operating table to cure a groin problem, even if he did have to limp out of the match after scoring his third goal. “It’s always nice to score for your club or country but to score a hat-trick for your country, and win the game - it’s special.”
As for the speed of his recovery Defoe said: “My groin’s been a little bit sore but I’ve done a lot of work in the gym and it’s improved a lot and it felt really good tonight.”
The feel-good factor clearly extended to the pairing with Rooney, which suddenly looked the obvious match that it had not always been before. “When you play with a partner it takes a little bit of time to gel. But he’s a great player – technically gifted – and if I make the runs, I know he’ll find me.”  
The supporters seemed to find it agreeable enough too. A turnout of 73,200 on a Friday night at Wembley said that this is still the nation’s team.
It may take a bit more for it to be its pride and joy again.



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