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England's Wembley wobbles worry Capello

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07 Sep 2011 07:00:16

England's Wembley wobbles worry Capello

Fabio Capello struggled to explain England's unconvincing home form after his team inched towards automatic qualification for Euro 2012 with a 1-0 win over Wales.

A first-half goal from Manchester United star Ashley Young secured all three points for England, who now need only a draw against Montenegro in their final Group G game on October 7 to book their place at next year's finals.

But the final home match of a patchy qualifying campaign could have ended differently for England had Wales' substitute Robert Earnshaw not missed a glaring goalscoring opportunity 75 minutes.

Earnshaw's howler came as a lacklustre England struggled to reproduce the kind of assured performance which had given them a comfortable 3-0 victory against Bulgaria in Sofia last Friday.

Capello later blamed England's stuttering form on the pressures of playing at Wembley, saying his players appeared to suffer a crisis of confidence when appearing before a home crowd.

"Playing at Wembley we seem to lose confidence here, some players that usually dribble and go straight at goal don't do it," Capello admitted.

"We pass across the goal four or five times, I want always three players in front of the goal. Tonight there was one."

England's perceived problems at Wembley are a recent phenomenon. During qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Capello's men were unstoppable at HQ, scoring 21 times and recording five wins out of five.

Since their ill-fated campaign in South Africa however, Wembley has not been a happy hunting ground for the English, having drawn three and lost one of their previous four home matches prior to Tuesday.

Capello admitted his team had enjoyed a large slice of luck by escaping with a victory over the Welsh following Earnshaw's shocking miss.

"I think we were a bit lucky, they made a big mistake in front of the goal, but that was our luck," added Capello.

"But the result was the most important thing. When we play at Wembley we want to play with mnore courage.

"For us at this moment it's different, before qualification for the World Cup (in 2010), we played very well here, but when there is pressure to get the result it's hard.

"When the other team plays without any pressure it's different -- they can play with a free mind, when you play opponents without pressure it's a problem."

Capello insisted however that England's fragility on home soil would not necessarily hinder his side's ability to mount a successful challenge at Euro 2012, should they qualify as expected.

"I think it's different when you play the tournament. It's different, you need to beat the opponents to go forward, it's a different type of pressure."

England goalscorer Young meanwhile admitted England had been forced to work hard to preserve their lead against Wales in the second half.

"They put us under a lot more pressure, which we knew they would do. They came and played with a lot of freedom," he said.

"They're away from home and I think teams play with a lot of freedom, especially when they come to Wembley.

"We found it difficult but we got that goal and we got the three points."


AFP

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