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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 11, 2008

Capello reveals secret to his winning formula

Fabio Capello has revealed the key to the stunning 4-1 win over Croatia was being able to work with the England players and stamp his imprint on the squad over a 10-day period.

Capello has mostly been restricted to having only a couple of days at a time to get his ideas across since replacing Steve McClaren as head coach - apart from the end-of-season trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

But he welcomed the opportunity to make more of an impression via the elongated spell surrounding the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra in Barcelona and Slaven Bilic's side in Zagreb.

And the response was evident last night in the way hat-trick hero Theo Walcott and the rest of the players inflicted on Croatia their first defeat in a competitive match on home soil.

England looked organised, threatening, operated as a team unit and oozed confidence in moving level on six points with Ukraine at the top of their qualifying group in the battle to reach South Africa.

Capello said: ''How have I turned the players around? When in club management, I am usually training every day, for one month, for maybe 50 days to change something.

''Usually in my career I have worked every day with the players. Here I have tried to change something in 10 days. I saw something. We spoke with the players. We asked them to do things during the training.

''The players know what I think about them. I have got to know the players much better and also they know me better. It is very important.

''Obtaining confidence, this was important and I could see there was plenty of that during all the training sessions which made me think we would perform well against Croatia.''

Walcott inevitably grabbed all the attention after he became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for England.

But Capello also took great encouragement from the performance of Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey.

Rooney scored his first international goal for 11 months and laid on two others, while Heskey was a constant threat with his power and ability to hold up the ball.

Capello said: ''How good can Walcott become? He has very good potential and he plays at a very important club (Arsenal) with a very good manager in Arsene Wenger. He is a very good manager for him.

''But all the players did very well and Rooney was helped by Heskey. Rooney played very well, scored a goal and had two assists.

''His fantastic movement without the ball helped everyone and I am happy. Heskey is important because he has big movement, he goes forward, moves into space.''

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