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Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 10:29 UK

Fabio Capello undaunted by England Euro 2012 pressure

Euro 2012 qualifier: England v Bulgaria
Date: Friday 3 September Kick-off: 2000 BST Venue: Wembley
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and online; live text commentary on BBC website and mobiles; live on ITV1


Capello unfazed by England pressure

Coach Fabio Capello says the pressure he faces at the start of England's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign is nothing new and it will inspire him to do better.

Despite talk of a new era post-World Cup his team to face Bulgaria on Friday is likely to show just three changes from the XI beaten 4-1 by Germany.

Joe Hart replaces David James in goal and Phil Jagielka and Theo Walcott are in for John Terry and Frank Lampard.

"I hope pressure brings out the best in me. Up to now it usually has," he said.

"It's not the worst situation I've been in. It's been the same two or three times, in Madrid, Milan, and now."


Former Real Madrid and Milan coach Capello's reputation took a major knock following England's dismal display at the World Cup, where a faltering campaign came to a premature end as the team were outclassed by Germany in the last 16.

Since then England have played just one friendly, a 2-1 win over Hungary, and they will be keen to make a fresh start when they return to competitive action in Friday's game against Bulgaria at Wembley.

That match is followed by an away tie in Switzerland next Tuesday, and Capello knows a good return of points is as important for him personally as it is for the team.

But he was unflinching in his response to the reporters who he believes are responsible for building up and knocking down reputations.

"You create the god, and you create the monster, no?" he said, referring to his recent fall from grace.

"I remember what you wrote about me a short time before this period.

"I live the same moment when you write well of me as when you write badly of me. You have to live with the pressure. It is my job.

"This is my team. We lost one game in the World Cup after one big mistake from the referee [when Frank Lampard's shot against Germany was deemed not to have crossed the line].

Gerrard calls for 'statement performance'

"You don't remember this. But after this, your opinion about me changed completely. You wrote a lot of things differently. But I live with this situation."

Captain Steven Gerrard has given the coach his backing but he could not speak for the whole team.

"I don't know if everyone is totally 100% behind him, of course, because I can't control what's going through every player's mind.

"But I've not seen anything that makes me think they're not. I've not spoken to any player or seen anything that's made me think they're not behind him."

Team v Germany, 27/6/10
James, G Johnson, A Cole, Terry, Upson, Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Milner, Rooney, Defoe
Likely team v Bulgaria 3/9/10
Hart, G Johnson, A Cole, Jagielka, Upson, Gerrard, Walcott, Barry, Milner, Rooney, Defoe

Gerrard also admitted the team are spurred on by their summer failure, but stressed they must be given time to recover their form.

"It's a similar situation to when we didn't qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren which was a low moment," he said.

"It's going to take time to recover from this position. The only way we can recover is to improve results and try to qualify smoothly out of this group.

"Then we've got to try to prove to people in the tournament, if we get there, that we can do a lot better than in South Africa.

"I've had a lot of lows with England, of course, but there's no way in the world I was going to go out after that Germany game.

"I'm 30 years of age and there's still an opportunity for me to go out on a high with England. That's the challenge moving forward."

Despite the likely starting XI not showing too many changes from the summer, the squad overall is much changed from the one that disappointed in South Africa.

David James and Ledley King have been discarded, while Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher has announced his international retirement for the second time.

Capello is also without Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, who was left out against Hungary and is thought to be missing this time because of an ankle injury, with goalkeepers Robert Green and Scott Carson and striker Peter Crouch also unavailable.

But Capello said he was encouraged by Wayne Rooney's return to goalscoring form, after watching him end a five-month wait for a goal with a penalty against West Ham last weekend, and expected him to lift the team.

"I monitored him during the last game that he played against West Ham," said Capello.

"He's good, he's back and I'm happy because he scored a goal.


"Rooney runs a lot around the pitch, he's free to move where he decides to go. He will play against Bulgaria in style."

Meanwhile Bulgaria coach Stanimir Stoilov has suggested England's World Cup failure can be blamed on Capello pushing the players too hard with a pre-tournament training camp.

"The season here is very hard to deal with for the players," he said.

"The most important thing before a tournament like that is how to rest the players and prepare them for the coming games and not the training sessions. I would have allowed my players to have a rest."

Stoilov's side, now without Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov who has retired from international football, have managed three draws and two defeats in five matches on English soil.

England travel to Switzerland for another qualifier on Tuesday and also face Montenegro and Wales in Group G, as they bid to qualify for the 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

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see also
Hart looks to cement England place
01 Sep 10 |  Football
Capello backed by England stars
01 Sep 10 |  Football
England 4-0 Bulgaria
03 Sep 10 |  Football
Capello hints at Beckham recall
29 Aug 10 |  Football
Capello 'media criticism' unfair
25 Aug 10 |  Football
England 2-1 Hungary
11 Aug 10 |  Football
England face Wales in Euro group
07 Feb 10 |  Football

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