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Page last updated at 22:45 GMT, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 23:45 UK

Euro 2012 qualifiers: England boss Capello upbeat

Fabio Capello
Capello believes his England side will bounce back after the Wembley draw

Manager Fabio Capello vowed to battle on despite watching England being held to a disappointing goalless Euro 2012 qualifying draw by Montenegro.

The Italian's side enjoyed most of the possession at Wembley but created few chances against a staunch defence.

It means England remain second in Group G, three points behind Montenegro with a game in hand, but Capello said: "I am a fighter. It is one game.

"I think we are a good team but their keeper played well. This is football."

Visiting keeper Mladen Bozovic made two fine stops from Wayne Rooney at point-blank range and was kept alert in the closing stages by a Gareth Barry snap shot and a couple of long-range efforts.

But overall England failed to really trouble the Montenegro backline, with wingers Adam Johnson and Ashley Young largely kept quiet and the front pairing of Rooney and Peter Crouch, and latterly Kevin Davies, ineffective.

The hosts were almost made to pay for their lack of creativity when Milan Jovanovic beat England keeper Joe Hart with seven minutes left, but his dipping shot crashed back off the crossbar.

Capello was left to praise Zlatko Kranjcar's side's approach and stated: "You have to respect little countries. They have good players. At this moment they are psychologically at a high moment, having won three games.

"This Montenegro team is a good team at the moment. They are a compact team, they work a lot. They are technically good.

"It is the fourth time in this campaign they have had a clean sheet. It is not easy, you have to score quickly against them to make it easier.

"Our quality was good. Against Algeria [at the World Cup] we didn't create a lot of chances. Tonight we did create chances."

However, England would have had a golden opportunity to win the game had German referee Manuel Grafe given what looked to be a blatant handball by Montenegro defender Jovanovic inside the penalty area from an Ashley Cole cross.

But Capello refused to be drawn on the incident but added: "I don't like to speak about the referees."

Captain Rio Ferdinand, however, was less restrained, and said: "He might as well have caught the ball, put it under his shirt and run home with it but you've got to get on with it."

PHIL McNULTY'S BLOG

And the Manchester United defender, back in an England shirt after a frustrating injury lay-off, conceded the draw was something of a setback for his side's attempts to qualify for Euro 2012.

"It feels a bit like a setback, yes," he commented. "We deserved better and there are positives to be drawn from the match - another clean sheet for example - but we really should be winning games like that."

Ferdinand focuses on the positives for England

Montenegro coach Kranjcar, meanwhile, could barely hide his delight at the result.

"I think everybody here will agree that we put on a great display and a good performance," he stated. "We had a plan to avoid defeat and we made the plan perfectly."

Kranjcar insisted England remain the favourites to grab the sole automatic qualifying spot from the group, even though they must travel to Montenegro for their final qualifying game in October 2011.

He said: "This is a result that exceeds all our expectations - three wins and a draw without conceding a goal is proof we can achieve our goal of reaching the play-offs. England are still the clear favourites for the group."



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see also
England 0-0 Montenegro
12 Oct 10 |  Football
Euro 2012 qualifiers as it happened
12 Oct 10 |  Football
Tuesday's football photos
12 Oct 10 |  Football


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