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Coach England Football Team, Sven Goran Eriksson
Coach England Football Team, Sven Goran Eriksson

BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON MANAGER, ENGLAND FOOTBALL TEAM DECEMBER 9TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:

And now with no apologies let's just enjoy this wonderful moment one more time.

[FILM CLIP]

DAVID FROST:

Well there it was, a great moment and the man himself, the coach who's taking us to the World Cup is here with us now, Sven Goran Eriksson welcome back.

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Thank you, good morning.

DAVID FROST:

Good morning to you and, and wonderful moment, that moment we relived there, is David Beckham automatically in fact going to be Captain of our World Cup team?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Yes he's going to be the Captain, no doubt about that, there are absolutely no, no reason to change that, he's playing very well, he behaves as a captain and I'm very, very pleased with him.

DAVID FROST:

And he's being rested this week because he was slightly off form or, or had a niggling back and so on, that, that's just a passing, just a tiny hiccup really, isn't it?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Yes I think so and you know the season is very long and for those teams like Manchester, Arsenal and so on, Liverpool, Leeds, also playing in Europe, there are a lot of games for them and normally when the clubs can give some rest to their players, those playing for the national team, going to do other duties for the national team so I think it's important and it's the modern football that at some point you have to rest and because it's very, very hard.

DAVID FROST:

And of course the papers have been full of suggestions that you are the person that Manchester United want as Alex Ferguson's successor, what do you say to that?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

It's always an honour to be noticed with such a big club of course, but I always said, first of all I never talked to Manchester United about it, I never heard anything about it, just saw it in¿

DAVID FROST:

Never heard anything from them either?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

No, no, no, and then I'm, I have a long contract with the FA with England and I'm happy about that, very happy.

DAVID FROST:

So there's no truth to it whatever?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

No, for me it's not true.

DAVID FROST:

Well there was also this story, I don't know whether you ever see Sport First but this is, they say that in fact Manchester United have signed a new boss and this is him or this is¿

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

And who's that?

DAVID FROST:

They didn't say.

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

I have no idea¿

DAVID FROST:

But it's not, listen it's not the shape of your head anyway so, underline, underlines your clear, your clear denial. And the other story this weekend among many was that Arsene Wenger is going to help on acclimatisation etc in Japan because he used to work there?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

That's also new for me, I, we haven't discussed that and of course it's important to take advice from people being out there and he's one of them but really it's, it's a story I don't know anything about that one. I think we have a lot of people who can take care of that and we, we working on that but about Arsene it's new, it's new for me.

DAVID FROST:

News to you, news to you, well now what about this draw which we all heard about, the group of Death and so on, and you must have thought it was tough eight days ago when you heard about it, but on reflection does it still seem as tough or does it seem more manageable?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Well it's the most difficult group in the World Cup and they are tough games of course you have to meet Sweden first, then Argentina and then the last game Nigeria, the last game in that group. But if we can play football as we did many times during the last, this last year I think we can beat Sweden, I think we can beat Argentina, why not. It's difficult but that's okay and I'm very optimistic and I think we can pass to the second round.

DAVID FROST:

Well that's what we want to hear, that's what we want to hear because in fact someone said that you'd spent a lot of money on Argentinian footballers in your time, you've got a great respect for them, £90 million or someone said¿

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Well a lot of, yeah a lot of money I don't know the figures exactly but I worked with five of the players playing in the national team, I had them in Lazio, all, all five of them and they are very good footballers, they are very aggressive, good technique, good vision of the play and that's one reason why Argentina is considered one of the best teams in the world today, they have many good players.

DAVID FROST:

And talking of Argentina, a moment from our last time we played Argentina which was when we lost on penalties and here's poor old David Batty coming up to take a penalty.

[FILM CLIP]

DAVID FROST:

Okay thank you very much Mr Commentator, we don't need any more, we want to hear Sven, now that was in 1998 and Glen Hoddle sort of said that he had rather deliberately never practised penalties with the team, do you promise that you will practise penalties before the World Cup?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

We will practise penalties but it's very difficult in that way that during the practise it's easy to score penalties, or at least more easy but when you have all the pressure on yourself and you are a penalty taker, you must be very cold, you must not start thinking about 80,000, how many million spectators on TV watching this penalty, that's when it's very, very difficult and that's very difficult to practise. It was more or less the same when Beckham scored in the last seconds the goal against Greece, you have to be very mentally strong, very strong to do that because you know this is the last chance we have, this is the ticket for the World Cup and he scored so¿

DAVID FROST:

Yes, that's real mental¿I've noticed on occasions that, also that sometimes a goalkeeper like David Seaman can sometimes almost psych-out the penalty taker?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Yes they can and the same thing there, it's, it's maybe easier in those occasions to be a goalkeeper because as a goalkeeper you have nothing to lose but the man taking the penalty, he has everything to lose.

DAVID FROST:

So how far have you gone with, are you, you're sticking to the back four are you forever you sort of said that you would last time and you, and you have?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

I think so and we did rather well playing that and most of the English club teams playing in that way, very few playing with three central defenders so in this moment I can't see any reason to change that.

DAVID FROST:

And what about humidity, Peter Reid said something about the trouble with humidity like there is in Japan is that you end up with walking pace football, does that mean you pick different people if you want walking pace footballers?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

No we're not going to do that but this World Cup I think will be more or less the same as it was in the United States, '94 it was I think, yes, very hot, very humid and of course it's not good for football but it's not just a problem for England, it's a problem for all countries so we don't have to be afraid of that.

DAVID FROST:

How has the job been compared to what you expected it to be?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Better, I mean very good, I think the team played good football not always but most of the times and I thought when I come here that it was very big job and it's even bigger than I thought, the interest around the national team is fantastic wherever we go and people so far are very nice to me wherever I go so it's better and bigger than I thought.

DAVID FROST:

Terrific and the, the thing that always fascinates me, is there anything you can do to make sure players are on form because we've seen examples against Greece where people were off form, why are people off form or on form or does no one know the answer?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Well it's difficult to know the answers because the week before Greece when we practised together I was sure that the team played very, very good football, suddenly you see among the best players we have in this country missing passes five metres, very simple things and I think it's all, always about the pressure on you and suddenly we had to win that game and we knew the importance of winning that game and then some of it became difficult to play football, so in that way maybe we have to grow before the World Cup but I think we will do that and when you meet teams like Argentina, one way it's easier because you have nothing to lose, you, we are not the favourites against Argentina so¿like, like Germany, let's hope¿when we met Germany.

DAVID FROST:

Yes, that would, that comparison appeals to me no end. We'll just get the headlines and then we'll come, come back, thank you very much Sven.

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Thank you.

DAVID FROST:

Over to you my dear.

[BREAK FOR NEWS] DAVID FROST:

We're at the end of our time, you said we can get to the, we can get through to the second round, as it were, from our group, would you go further with a prediction?

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON:

Well I always said that I think we can do good work of course the first step is to go further then we'll see, let's talk then.

DAVID FROST:

Alright, it's a date. Well everybody's rooting for him, Sven Goran Eriksson, that's all for this week, we'll be back next Sunday for our last show before Christmas, Rory Bremner the spirit of Christmas will be here with us, lots to look forward to but until then it's top of the morning, good morning, Argentina.

END


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