Capello: Don't expect miracles
Fabio Capello has attempted to banish the idea that he is the 'Messiah' but insists he will try to instil a winning mentality into the England team.
On the eve of his first test as England manager, the Italian has warned fans not to expects miracles, and pointed out that only 38% of players in the Premier League are available to him compared to 61% of players in the Primera Liga for his Spain counterpart to choose from.
Capello is concentrating on building up a group mentality in the England squad, fostered by some strict new rules while players are together at their training camp.
The proof of the pudding will first be tasted against Switzerland at Wembley tomorrow, and even the England players will not know whether they are in the team until just before they leave the team hotel tomorrow.
Only Steven Gerrard, named by Capello as his captain though not on a permanent basis, knows he is guaranteed a spot in the starting line-up.
Capello said England should not dwell on their failure to qualify for Euro 2008, but that he should not be viewed as a saviour to put right all those things wrong with the game.
'I am not a Messiah, I'm just someone who tries to reap results through hard work,' said Capello.
'What I will try to pass on to the team is a winning mentality and being confident in their own abilities, playing bravely especially when we are at home and being more confident in our strength when we are away.
'I cannot perform miracles in three days. The important thing is to create a good group and make sure the team moves in the right way on the pitch.
'We need to forget what happened in the past, whether you win or lose you should leave that behind you.'
Capello was bemused that his new rules for players should have commanded so much attention, as they are the norm in Italy and Spain.
These include players being obliged to dress smartly, turn up on time together for meals, and leave the table at the same time. Use of mobile phones is restricted, and players are expected to devote their time at the training camp entirely to training or team-building.
The players are also referred to by coaches by the surnames only, which is also the habit on the continent.
Capello, who insisted he did not believe English players are any more pampered than others in Europe, was asked what the squad called him.
'Boss!' he replied, then added: 'If people are amazed by these rules then they are probably not used to having them.
'I believe we have some obligations towards the fans and so I feel we need rules to work by, in an orderly fashion.
'We have not many days together compared to when the players are with their clubs so we need some strict rules to create a group and a winning mentality that I want.
'The players can call each other by first name or surname but eating together and getting up from the table together is just respecting other people.'
The manager was asked what would happen should any of the players break the rules.
'I can't see why they shouldn't respect the rules,' he replied.
'Obviously people make mistakes but if you want to be part of a group you have to follow the rules of a group.'
Post-training games of golf are also off the agenda for the players. 'On Thursday they can play as much golf as they like,' said Capello.
The Italian will attempt to instil his own tactical ideas into the players, and try to replicate some of the team movement he has seen in the Premier League - probably by Arsenal and Manchester United, though he was not naming names.
The former Real Madrid and AC Milan coach insists that although the nature of the football he has been watching in the Premier League over the last month is different to the continental game, it is not an alien culture.
He added: 'There are very similar aspects to Spain for example, but what is really interesting is that in England we have 38% of players who are English.
'In Spain, a much higher percentage are Spanish players so the manager of Spain has a much greater choice and this is something that needs to be reminded.'
Shaun Wright-Phillips trained today so all the squad will be available against Switzerland - a game Capello admits will bring on some pre-match nerves.
'When we get to Wembley I will be a bit nervous but when the game starts I will be 100% focused and concentrating on the game,' he said.
'I believe Switzerland are a good team. They have good players and they are very dangerous on the counter.'
Capello also brushed off questions about those fans who had bought tickets hoping to see David Beckham win his 100th cap.
He added: 'I respect him greatly for all things we did together at Real Madrid but at the moment the most important thing is talking about the players who will play tomorrow - not the ones who are not here.'