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Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 09:16 UK

Fabio Capello says England can improve on Wembley show

Capello shows his frustrations on the touchline
Capello wanted his team to be more aggressive

Fabio Capello says there is more to come from England after Monday's unconvincing 3-1 win over Mexico.

Goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson gave Fabio Capello's side victory in their penultimate game before the World Cup in South Africa.

But coach Capello is demanding more from his players.

"When we play counter-attacking football, we are really dangerous but I don't just want to play on the counter. I want more," he said.

England were put on the back foot from the start by a lively Mexico at Wembley and continued to struggle, despite King's headed opener on 17 minutes.

Tottenham club-mate Crouch made it 2-0 before the visitors pulled a goal back through Guillermo Franco on the stroke of half-time.


Johnson's wonderful solo effort two minutes after the restart put the home side in control but England's defensive vulnerability before the interval will have concerned Capello.

The Italian insisted no-one had played themselves out of contention and added that there was still room for improvement going into their final warm-up against Japan in Graz, Austria, on Sunday.

"I'm happy with the result," he stated. "I knew Mexico are good in possession, technically. They are faster than us and it was not easy to win back the ball.

"I learned a lot about some situations on the pitch, not only me but also the players. We have to press more to win back the ball quickly."

England midfielder Steven Gerrard echoed Capello's thoughts.

"We can play better than we did but there is still time to sharpen up," said the Liverpool star.

"I think the key at half-time was the manager stressed we needed to get closer to them.

"We gave them too much respect in the first half and the manager wanted more aggression. They had too much possession in the first half. We stood off them and let them play.

"In the second half, we got in their faces and stopped them playing."

As well as England's defensive frailties, central midfield was also a particular area of concern for Capello.

The partnership of James Milner and Michael Carrick failed to make its mark, prompting Capello to move Gerrard into a more central position after half-time.

"I changed it after half-time and put Steven in the middle, where he played very well," added the coach.

"He is a really good player and can play in midfield, as a number 10, in lots of different positions."

Capello also praised the performances of his goalkeepers.

West Ham's Robert Green made two great saves in the first half before being replaced by Manchester City's Joe Hart, who produced a competent display.

"I'm happy with the performance of Green. He saved twice one-on-one," commented Capello. "Also Hart played with confidence. That's important for us and for England."

Green and Hart are battling with David James to be England's number one in South Africa but it is still hard to predict who will win Capello's backing.

"We're going to push each other as much as we can and support each other," said Green. "Whoever is playing at the World Cup is going to need that support and encouragement.

Personal or selfish achievements don't come into it - it's for the good of your country

England keeper Robert Green

"I feel I'm ready to play and prepared to play whatever part I'm required to play - whether it be 90 minutes of a game, two minutes of a game or a supporting role in the World Cup.

"Personal or selfish achievements don't come into it. It's for the good of your country. You just have to be ready to be needed if you are to do the job."

Green was the busier than Hart against Mexico, denying Arsenal striker Carlos Vela twice with brilliant reaction saves.

He was delighted with his own efforts but disappointed to have allowed Hammers team-mate Franco score.

"It was a good evening tempered by letting a goal at the end," said 30-year-old Green. "My anger was slightly lessened by it being Franco - you couldn't meet a nicer bloke."

Goalscorer King was not completely satisfied either.

"I wouldn't say it was one of my better games but the more I play, the fitter I can get," said the Tottenham defender, who struggles to play successive games because of a long-standing knee problem.

"The medical staff are doing a brilliant job. It's now down to the manager to see who he picks. I will just do the best I can and see where it goes.


"I have played three games in 10 days already this season, so why would it be a problem again?"

Capello said he was "happy" with King's progress, and added: "I decided he had to play all the game today. It gave me an opportunity to see him."

Meanwhile, the England coach played down an injury concern over the talismanic Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United striker had signalled that he wanted to come off a couple of minutes before the end but remained on the pitch because Capello had used all his substitutes.

"He said he had a small problem in his neck but it is not a problem," revealed Capello. "He wanted to come off for the last two minutes but I had made all the substitutions so it was impossible to change."

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see also
England 3-1 Mexico
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
England v Mexico as it happened
24 May 10 |  Football
World Cup warm-up matches
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wembley surface worries Ferdinand
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Barry faces race to prove fitness
26 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Bent out to prove World Cup worth
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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