Thursday 21 September 2017

Capello counts cost of lacklustre showing

Frank Malley

Fabio Capello claimed a lack of energy cost his England side two points in their European Championship qualifier against Switzerland.

England came from two goals down to draw their Group G encounter 2-2 with a Frank Lampard penalty and a right-foot shot from second-half substitute Ashley Young after goalkeeper Joe Hart had let in two howlers from Switzerland free-kicks.

Capello's side, however, were left hanging on as Switzerland pressed for a winner in the latter stages.

Capello, who claimed he had not underestimated Switzerland, said: "Some players arrived at the last 10 minutes without energy. In modern football if you can't press it is difficult.

"For this reason I was happy for the reaction and for the chances that we created but the last 10 minutes I was worried. I saw the Swiss team doing really, really well.

"I respect all the players. I am focused every time on the game. I know some Swiss players are playing in really important teams. Six players playing in Italy, some coming from Germany and here in England.

"The quality of these players is good. They played today with more energy than us."

Capello admitted he was annoyed with the two Switzerland goals, both from free kicks by Tranquillo Barnetta, the first a whipped cross from 30 yards which went straight in past Hart and the second a shot which went through the two-man wall of Theo Walcott and James Milner and was helped into the net by Hart's leg at the near post.

"I was disappointed for the second goal because the wall needed to stay tight and not move," said Capello.

The England manager substituted Lampard at half time, bringing on Young to inject some pace and vitality.

Capello explained: "I changed because I needed to change something. I needed one player to attack the space and one player faster. The first half we played a lot of short passes and did not go through to the goal. It was a tactical decision, absolutely."

Capello also lamented a string of missed chances from Darren Bent, who saw one shot smothered by Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and another blaze over the crossbar with the goalmouth gaping. Young and Stewart Downing also missed chances.

Capello said: "After 2-2 we got four chances to score the third goal. We missed those chances but I can see that in the last 10 minutes some players were without energy. It was a difficult moment to play a game of such importance.

"Bent always has the chances but this time he missed the chances. It is incredible because we missed four chances that were really clear."

Meanwhile, Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was delighted with the point.

"If I had been offered a 2-2 draw before the match I would have signed for that," he said.

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