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Barry admits English task bigger than just qualifying

Gareth Barry accepts no matter how well England perform in their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign they will still have to win over a sceptical public once -- or if -- they get to the event in Poland and Ukraine.

England's poor World Cup campaign in the summer was made more disappointing by the fact that Fabio Capello's men recorded nine wins from 10 during qualifying to push themselves forward as potential winners of the competition.

Tomorrow they start the whole process again at Wembley when Bulgaria arrive in a bid to reach the European Championships.

Victory is expected, even if it cannot be guaranteed. But, even if England win and then double up by beating Switzerland in Basle on Tuesday to collect a maximum haul from their opening two games, Barry knows doubts will still remain among the Three Lions' support.


"What happened in South Africa was hard to take after we qualified with such flying colours," he reflected.

"Going forward and defensively, we looked very good.

"Maybe that did affect us a bit. We were on a high and the country felt we had a proper chance.

"But on the big stage it didn't happen. Everyone realises now that it's not about how we qualify.

"The main objective is just to qualify and then have a good tournament," added the former Aston Villa player.

Even as Fabio Capello's future was being debated, reasons were being offered as to why a team that qualified in such style, containing players who weekly hit the highest notes in what is supposedly the best league in the world, should perform quite so badly.

Barry takes on board many of the points. For a start, he did question his own ability.

He also embraces the idea of a winter break, which seems so obvious but has proved impossible to incorporate within the fixture calendar.

But the normally laid-back Manchester City midfielder positively bristles when it is suggested that the simple reason England so consistently perform below expectations is because the players themselves are not that bothered and feel no pride in wearing the Three Lions on their chest.

"It is annoying when people say we don't care," said Barry. "It is nonsense.

"Everyone knows we want to win as much as anyone. We are here to win.

"Defeat is hard to take for anyone. But when it is you being spoken about, it is tough to deal with.

"You just have to try to not listen to those who speak negatively."