Fabio Capello looked ahead to World Cup D-day declaring: "I am not crazy. We can reach the final."
Capello's pre-tournament assertion that England were capable of competing for the biggest prize in the game at Soccer City on July 11 has looked a little hollow over the past fortnight and they must beat Slovenia on Wednesday to be guaranteed a place in the last 16.
And Capello said: "I am not crazy, when I said my target is the final of the World Cup it was because we showed this is a really good squad. I think if. no, not if, when we win (against Slovenia) then all the teams have to fight against us."
After starting with a mixed performance against the United States, England's Group C campaign took a total wrong turning against Algeria in Cape Town last Friday.
A virtually unanimous assessment of that tepid goalless draw was that it was one of the worst England performances in living memory.
Yet Capello, who was anxious to put a turbulent few days behind him and forget all about the John Terry-led rebellion, which he slapped down so brutally, retains faith in his players.
The rallying cry may have been delivered in faltering English but the resonance was the same as Terry managed with his own, ultimately ill-advised, passionate speech on Sunday.
Capello will only truly find out on Wednesday afternoon whether his own assertion of authority over the man he once called captain has any lingering effect, but there was no fuel being poured on the fire on Tuesday night.
"He (Terry) is one of the most important players and no, I did not think about dropping him," said Capello.
"This is a really important game for us, everything else has gone out of the minds of the players. Speak about the game, not John Terry."