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Rediff.com  » Sports » I'd rather play away from Wembley, says England's Capello

I'd rather play away from Wembley, says England's Capello

September 10, 2008 10:15 IST

England manager Fabio Capello said his team relished facing Croatia again on Wednesday and would play with more confidence in their Group Six World Cup qualifier in Zagreb than they would at Wembley.

"We know Croatia have never lost a home qualifier but I think when England play at home at this moment they play with not a lot of confidence so I prefer to play away at the moment," the Italian told a news conference on Tuesday.

Capello replaced Steve McClaren after England failed to reach Euro 2008 following two defeats by Croatia but his team were unimpressive in friendlies before labouring to a 2-0 win over Andorra in their first qualifier last Saturday.

However, the coach said the players were upbeat and would be aiming to win the match rather than trying to clinch a point.

"The players are now playing with confidence and I'm sure tomorrow we will play well. I've never in my career played for a draw. We'll play with courage. It's impossible to play here with fear so we'll try to get a positive result."

Croatia's form against England has encouraged local media to make them favourites to secure three wins in a row but Capello dismissed their recent success as a factor in Wednesday's clash.

"I know what happened in the past but I always think about the future," said the Italian. "This is a new game, a new season and the players cannot think about what happened before."

BETTER BALANCED

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic was confident but cautious and told a news conference that compared to when they beat England 3-2 at Wembley last November they were now "more mature, more experienced, better balanced, equally dangerous on both flanks.

"Yes, we're optimistic, we know we have a great opportunity, but we also know we've a great rival coming our way," he added.

"If all our players are at the top of their game, we shall be close to a victory. But if five or six of them underperform, we could lose."

England captain John Terry said his team had also improved.

"We respect them but have no fear of them," he told a news conference. "We've moved forward from a year ago and we need to go into the game with confidence.

"I think the memories of what happened last time -- home and away -- will be enough to get the lads fighting.

"We didn't have that (belief) at Wembley but it's a fresh start for everybody. Everybody's fighting for their place with the new manager."

Capello said he had a full squad to choose from after central defender Rio Ferdinand recovered from the neck injury that kept him out of the Andorra game.

Source:
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