News & Current Affairs

August 21, 2008

Capello defends England tactics

Capello defends England tactics

Fabio Capello

Capello said he played Gerrard in a supporting role behind the striker

Coach Fabio Capello gave England’s performance in the 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic a mixed review and defended his use of Steven Gerrard.

The Italian was criticized for playing the midfielder on the left wing.

Capello explained he was using Gerrard in a 4-3-2-1 system, with the Liverpool captain and Wayne Rooney supporting Jermain Defoe as a main striker.

“The position he had to play was in the line of the full-backs and midfield,” he said. “He never played on the left.”

Capello sought to get the best out of Liverpool’s influential captain and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in the same line-up, a conundrum that has dogged his predecessors in the England job.

On this occasion he opted to partner Lampard with Gareth Barry in the middle with David Beckham to the right of the trio.

Capello added: “We played 4-3-2-1. We played Defoe, Gerrard and Rooney and three midfielders behind them. He [Gerrard] went to the left and to the middle.”

Gerrard was replaced by Joe Cole after an hour and the Chelsea midfielder admitted he was played out of position.

“I’m a winger, but the manager wanted me to play off the front man,” said the 26-year-old. “New manager, new ideas. We’ve got to try things.”

Only a last-minute goal from Cole saved England from defeat at Wembley, but Capello drew some positives from the salvaged draw, saying the performance was another step forward for his side ahead of World Cup qualifying campaign which begins in Andorra on 6 September.

He was also concerned by the ease in which England were exposed by a fast counter-attacking Czech side and admitted it is something they will need to work on.

“I think in the first half we played well, we had a lot of chances.

“After the second goal from the Czechs, the direction was not so strong.”

The problem is not with the style we played, but the difficulty we have when the other team play the counter-attack
England manager Fabio Capello

“The problem is not with the style we played, but the difficulty we have when the other team play the counter-attack,” added the 62-year-old.

“It is always dangerous and we have to study this problem.

“At this moment the players are not 100% physically, and important players like Rooney and Gerrard have played just one game.

“I think this result is important. We played against a very strong team and we’ll have more confidence for the next game.”

England’s uncomfortable night was compounded by the announcement that the Football Association’s chief executive Brian Barwick would leave his post by the end of the year.

Barwick was instrumental in the appointment of Capello, but differences with chairman Lord Triesman have led to their relationship becoming unworkable.

When asked about his departure the Italian said: “I am a friend of Brian, but it’s not my job [to comment] – it’s a board decision.”

Meanwhile, captain John Terry conceded that there had been “some plusses, but also some negatives” from their final warm-up game before the World Cup qualification campaign begins.

“Maybe we should have won the game with the players we had out,” the re-appointed skipper said

Of the crowd booing the players off, he said: “The crowd were frustrated as they’d paid a lot of money for their tickets, and we’ve got to put on a better show than that.

“It’s going to be a slow process, but hopefully we can get off to a good start against Andorra and go from there.

“We’ve got players playing in the biggest competition in the world [the Champions League], but sometimes we don’t click on the international stage.

“But I don’t think we should be worried. We have to stand up and be counted, raise our game, match teams with the commitment they show and hopefully our quality can overcome them.”

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August 13, 2008

Terry doubts Man Utd credentials

Terry doubts Man Utd credentials

John Terry

Terry is confident Chelsea can win the Premier League title this season

John Terry believes Manchester United have reached their peak and Chelsea can regain the Premier League trophy.

United were European and domestic champions last term, with Chelsea runners-up, but the Blues’ captain believes his side can raise their game.

“I don’t think United have another level to go to,” said Terry, whose side have a new manager this season in Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“They had a lot of players at the peak of their form for the last two years.”

Terry’s comments come after United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that the majority of Chelsea’s squad had reached an age where they were unlikely to improve any further.

The Scot compared the current Stamford Bridge outfit to that of the Liverpool team of the early 1990s, who slipped into decline after their 1990 title triumph, and predicted that Chelsea are on the brink of a similar downturn.

But Terry has hit back and pinpointed several players at Old Trafford who he thinks will be unable to match their performances of last season.

They include Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 42-goal haul underpinned United’s double success.

“Rio Ferdinand has been awesome for the last two years and Cristiano Ronaldo was unbelievable – I don’t think you’ll see that again,” Terry said.

“[Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs at his age, they’ve all been fantastic.

“I think we can close the gap because Man United were at the very top of their game last season.

“But we’ve been very close to them and we had injuries and a change of manager.”

Terry says he has been impressed with the business Scolari has conducted during the transfer window.

He also believes a good start will be key if they are to wrestle the title from United, who arguably face a tougher start in their Premier League defence.

“The new manager has come in and made a few changes. He’s made some great signings. Deco looks awesome so I’m excited to see him play,” Terry said.

“We need to start well and get off to a flyer, just keep winning.

“Man United have a few tough games early on. Liverpool have made some good signings and will be stronger this year. We need to focus.

“We have a good home record and if we can continue that and get off to a good start we’ll be all right.”

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