ENGLAND NEWS

Capello still smarting from England howlers

August 15, 2009

Fabio Capello is prepared to forgive and forget the freak defensive errors that led to two Dutch goals in Amsterdam on Wednesday - but if England had lost to a late goal, his players would have been well advised not to head for the dressing room.

Fabio Capello
GettyImages / MichaelReganCapello: Can still dish out the hairdryer treatment

John Terry revealed early last week that Capello was not afraid to switch his hairdryer onto full blast if the need arose.

Yet the Italian had kept it switched to the off button at half-time on Wednesday as England contemplated "silly'' mistakes from Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry that gifted Holland their two goal lead.

What really annoyed Capello, having watched his side claw their way back from two goals down against the side ranked number three in the world, was the sight of his team abandoning their defensive responsibilities near the end as they piled forward at a corner looking for the win.

At one stage Wayne Bridge was left on his own to patrol the halfway line. A cardinal sin in Capello's book.

"I saw it and I was angry about it,'' he said. "These are the mistakes I don't like. We had recovered everything and then we might have lost the game on the counter-attack. Why? It was really stupid.''

On this occasion, Capello did not even attempt to correct himself, having decided "silly'' was a better word to describe what Ferdinand and Barry did. He chose "stupid'' because the mistake was so basic - and so preventable.

"I don't accept the statement that it is the English mentality to keep trying to win,'' Capello said. "All players know when you get a corner you have to keep two back against one forward, plus have two midfielders outside the box.

"With us it was one and two. I could not believe it. If Holland had scored a goal in that situation, it would be better for the players not to come back into the dressing room.''

As someone immersed in the pride Italians take in defending, it could have almost been a situation Capello was encountering for the first time. Not quite - but not often.

"The players I had before did do it - but not more than once.'' Not that Capello dislikes the English 'up-and-at-em' spirit.

In fact, the refusal to give in and ability to recover from such seemingly impossible positions could be a major weapon in South Africa next year, providing Capello's players can get the more technical aspects of the game right.

"When you look at Holland, you have to remember all their teams play with the same style,'' he said. It means their movement is always the same.

"That is not the case in England. Not only do teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea play in different ways, sometimes new managers come in midway through the season and adopt different systems as well.

"I prefer a mix between the English style and the others. The players are strong enough and they know what they have to do.''

Capello has just a fortnight to ponder the events of midweek before he announces the squad for a friendly against Slovenia at Wembley on September 5 and the far more important World Cup qualifier against Croatia four days later.

If England beat Slaven Bilic's men, their place in South Africa will be confirmed. If not, they will go to Ukraine in October still needing to get a result to avoid a nervy last-day encounter with Belarus.

"It is really important,'' Capello said. "If we win we effectively get two extra friendlies. That would be positive for a lot of reasons.''