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Capello happy to ride his luck

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07 Sep 2011 07:30:22

Capello happy to ride his luck

Fabio Capello admitted his England side were fortunate to scramble a 1-0 win against Wales at Wembley which keeps their European Championship qualifying hopes on course.

Ashley Young scored the only goal of the game in the first half but Wales manager Gary Speed was left rueing the one that got away after substitute Robert Earnshaw missed a sitter from six yards 15 minutes from time. The result leaves England needing a point when they visit Montenegro on October 7 to be sure of qualifying for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

But when asked if they were fortunate to be in such a position after Earnshaw had spooned a likely tap-in high over the England crossbar, Capello said: "Yes, we made a big mistake in front of the goal and we had luck. We did not play the last 15 minutes well. We suffered a lot. We didn't play good passes and never pressed the ball."

Speed, however, was adamant Wales, who beat Montenegro at the weekend, should have gone home with at least a point.

He said: "We deserved a draw. We played great in the second half. We knew coming to places like this against a top-four team in the world you are going to come under pressure at some time but we wanted to stay in the game and we did because once in the second half the game opened up and we created a few chances

"We were unlucky not to score with the Robert Earnshaw chance. That didn't go for us but I am really, really proud of the players. I thought the way they performed was excellent. I am very proud. If you wanted one person in that position it would have been Earnshaw, but it's one of those things.

"He's a great lad. He's mentally strong and will get over that. It's just one of those things. He showed what he can do when he came on. He's Welsh through and through and he will turn up through thick and thin. No-one will be more disappointed than him. I thought the ball was in but I'm more proud of the way the boys took the game to England in the second half."

Capello put England's lacklustre performance, which followed an impressive 3-0 win against Bulgaria in Sofia on Friday, down to the pressures of playing at Wembley. "I think here we lose the confidence," Capello said. "Some players who can usually dribble and can go straight for the goal do not. I want always three players in front of the goal and there was only one.

"But I am happy for the result. It was the most important thing. When you play at Wembley the opponents want to play with more courage and pressure. When we played qualification matches for the World Cup we never had problems when we played at home. When you play without the pressure (of the result) you play well. The players suffered. They did not play fast."

By contrast, Speed urged his side to build on the Montenegro result and the Wembley performance. He said: "In Wales we've had false dawns before and we can't afford to have another. We're progressing really well and I'm proud of the way we played, but we've got a lot of hard work to do."


PA

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